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Home » Opinion » Indian Workers Plight in Middle East: Caution’s

Indian Workers Plight in Middle East: Caution’s

By Newsd
Updated on :
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) meet officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the 68th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 25, 2017. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the chief guest of honour at India's upcoming 68th Republic Day celebrations. / AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMA

India gets the highest amount of remittances in the world at roughly $70 billion, almost three times the amount of FDI that comes into the country. The Middle East accounts for 17.5 per cent of the Indian diaspora population but contributes nearly 60 per cent of total remittances to India. In India Middle East means Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Omar, Qatar and others.

For Indians, the Middle East was country of Jobs, Wealth and Hope. From fewer than 258,000 in 1975, the migrant Indian population in the Middle rose to 3.318 million in 2001 and is now estimated at over four million. Indian migrant workers in the Middle East belong to all three categories of labor: 1) professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants, and managers), 2) semi-skilled workers (e.g., craftsmen, drivers, artisans, and other technical workers), and 3) unskilled laborers in construction sites, farmlands, livestock ranches, shops and stores, and households.

Middle East remittance to India was nearly $30 billion, nearly half the 2012 total of $69 billion flowing to India. The source countries include  UAE ($15 billion) Saudi Arabia ($8 billion), Kuwait (almost $3 billion), Oman ($2.6 billion), Qatar ($2.2 billion), and Bahrain ($760 million). This situation changed due to low oil prices, the rise of ISIS, Conflict in Iraq, Syria, Yemen on the whole Gulf. The breakdown of Nations, Rise of Non-State Actors, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taliban who are controlling few pockets of this country.

Kidnapping, arson, loot, drug trade, arms deals are rampant anybody who is non-Muslim or Shia is targeted and hunted. In this situation, the biggest danger has come for Indian Workers who go to the Middle East to earn life and contribute to their economy.

The kidnapping of Nurses, harassing Construction Workers to labours to engineers, not paying their salaries, firing at will, putting them in near slave camps, confiscating passports have become too common. Recently Saudi Arabia was in news for imposing taxes and have increased the cost of fuel locally for Foreigners. Water and electricity and other utility charges have also increased, making it tough for Indian expatriates. Six months ago they have imposed an income tax on expatriates while the UAE is in the process of introducing value-added tax (VAT) and tax on remittances. In Saudi Arabia, Saudi Binladin Group laid off 50,000 people, as the construction giant attempts to turn around a business hammered by low oil price. Employers also confiscated the passports of Indian labourers as a tool to control migrant workers and prevent them from running away.

The poor working conditions that immigrant workers in the Gulf have to contend with can be partly explained by the existence of the ‘kafala’ system. Under this system – which is in use in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates – migrant worker’s visas “are tied to their employers so they cannot change jobs without their employer’s consent. A worker who chooses to flee from an abusive employer can be fined, deported, or even imprisoned. Due to the low socioeconomic backgrounds of the workers, their lack of political clout they are not heard.

In 2014 40 Indian construction workers were kidnapped by the Islamic State (ISIS) from Iraq’s city of Mosul. India did all the effort for their release and thought they would be released.  But just because they were non-Muslims they were killed and buried in mass in Badoosh  Iraq. The victims were from throughout India.

Gulf countries are becoming difficult for Indian Workers and the Business person who saw them as a hope of Development. In one way or the other Indian or any migrant worker faced many cruelties in the Middle East for eg  Foreign workers have been raped, exploited, under- or unpaid, physically abused, overworked and locked in their places of employment.

The international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) describes these conditions as “near-slavery” and attributes them to “deeply rooted gender, religious, and racial discrimination”. In many cases, the workers are unwilling to report their employers for fear of losing their jobs or further abuse. Other forms of general discrimination, such as a lack of freedom of religion for non-Sunni Muslims, are also applicable

Gulf laws do not provide strong legal protection for migrant workers and housemaids. As such, they face “arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and harsh punishments” and may falsely be accused of the crime.

In this situation, nearly Millions or more Indian workers are in the Middle East. How the Government of India responds and treats them is more important. However, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sent Gen VK Singh to look the situation in the Middle East. Migrants have lost hope in Gulf how we look after them and how we give them jobs back in India, take care of their loans, children’s education or insurance will be watched after all we are all Indians and we should live with honor and respect people who have come back after they lost their hope in foreign countries. For now Middle East is dangerous.

At last, I can conclude that the Middle East is not the right Place to go and work for Indian Workers until and unless the employer takes full responsibility of them. They should not select or go to war-prone or troubled Country with elements like ISIS or Al Qaeda or Taliban. All the Indians should follow Government of India directions before visiting Foreign Countries. So all the Indian who goes and work abroad has to understand that country background. Instead of going and getting caught by the terrorist or some organizations it is better to be in India and earn living. When millions of dollars are made by foreign countries in India we cant earn and look after our family? What they did was fine but we can also work in Less Troubled countries than getting trapped in war zones.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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