Monthly Archives: November 2015

The plight of undocumented Indian workers who migrate to Muscat

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“I want to go back to Muscat to earn as I am not getting a good job in my own country,” says 56-year-old Appukuttan who met his family in India after living miserably for 22 years as an undocumented worker in Muscat. All these years, he has missed the big moments of his personal life. He hasn’t seen his children as they grew up, was not present for the last rites of his mother nor has he been able to live with his wife.

Like all other migrant workers, he moved to Muscat in the hope of getting a job but became an undocumented worker. After doing all kinds of menial jobs like driving and rag picking he has now come back to his home in Kerala. Even after spending a desolate time in Muscat, he wants to go back abroad to earn for his family because the financial conditions have not improved but worsened. Currently, he lives with his mother-in-law in a thatched roof house. He says that his wife had to mortgage their home for marrying their daughter nine years ago. Continue reading

Study identifies major hurdles in way of justice for migrant workers

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Ineffective complaint mechanisms coupled with missing coordination among grievance registration and redressing systems, and lack of awareness about their availability have been identified as major hurdles in access to justice for the migrant workers in a study.

Conducted by the Punjab labour department with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the study has also prepared some suggestions to rectify the situation as thousands of grievances are piling up with various authorities. Continue reading

Migrant workers ‘in throes of medical juggernaut’

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“You’re suffering from hepatitis C. So you can’t leave for Saudi Arabia,” tells the receptionist at a medical facility in the provincial metropolis to a migrant worker seeking reemployment in the oil kingdom.

Anwar has earlier served as a cab driver in Riyadh for three years and has returned home a few months ago on the expiry of his contract.

“How can I get this problem fixed?” asks he, shocked by the news of his dreaded ailment. Under the law (of the host country) he needs medical clearance before leaving his home country for the job abroad. Continue reading

Qatar is reforming labour laws, but is Nepal?

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Under sustained international criticism Qatar has reformed its controversial laws governing migrant workers. But for significant improvement in labour conditions there have to be changes in the way the Nepal government and recruiters treat their own workers.

After Qatar’s king approved an amendment to the law last week, more than 400,000 Nepali migrant workers, mostly hired for construction of infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, are hopeful it will now be easier for Nepalis to return home or switch jobs more easily.

The new law will affect all 1.8 million foreign workers in the Gulf state, 400,000 of whom, are Nepalis. Continue reading

Human trafficking thrives as Pakistan sits on draft law

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As the government sits on a draft law prescribing stricter punishment for human smugglers, the menace of trafficking people thrives, claiming lives of those traveling abroad in search of greener pastures.

With the arrest of three more alleged human smugglers on Friday, the tally of those held for involvement in the ugly business has risen to seven within two weeks. Of them, four are among the most-wanted criminals. Continue reading

The greener grass on the other side

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Pushpa is an anomaly, but also a part of an increasing phenomenon, in which urban youths have one eye fixed on the Gulf countries and the other further west, on Europe and North America.

After a month-long vacation, Pushpa Bajracharya flew back to Dubai on Thursday, to resume his work as a merchandiser at a distribution company called Transmed Overseas, a job he has held for the last two-and-half years. When around two thousand people leave to work in the Gulf countries and Malaysia every day, his flight might seem like a normal occurrence–just another young person (he is 27 years old) passing through the departure gates in hopes of a better life. Continue reading