Gulf Companies Terminated Indian Employees Without Paying Salaries; Govt Steps In To Resolve Issue

Gulf Companies Terminated Indian Employees Without Paying Salaries; Govt Steps In To Resolve Issue
Gulf Companies Terminated Indian Employees Without Paying Salaries; Govt Steps In To Resolve Issue

During COVID-19, lakhs of Indian migrant workers in the Gulf nations were wrongfully fired from jobs and sent back to India, without proper compensation.

Migrant Workers Sacked Without Compensation

Now, Indian government wants to bilaterally take up the issue of these migrant workers, according to the sources.

With the slumping oil prices and an overall economic decline during pandemic, lakhs of Indians employed in Gulf nations have lost their jobs.

Further, the crisis has been accentuated by the fact that most Gulf nations, especially Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are officially pushing to restrict and reduce the high share of migrants in their populations.

As per the Centre’s data, over 7.16 lakh Indian migrants came back from the six Gulf nations including (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), under the Vande Bharat Missions.

A senior government official mentioned “On asking about the reason for wanting to be repatriated to India urgently, our embassies have found that a large chunk of them have been recently terminated from work. Many of them have been denied their rightful salaries,”.

Blue and White Collar Workers Raised Issues

Earlier, these kinds of complaints were mostly raised by blue-collar migrant workers in the construction and labour-intensive industries.

Interestingly, this time, many white-collar workers have also raised these issues, he added.

Government’s Take On The Situation

The officials said, “We are monitoring the situation. State governments will be asked to gather more information on the subject and send it to the Ministry of External Affairs,” . 

The official further confirmed that the issue may also be raised at the Joint Working Group meetings periodically held with the Gulf nations to ensure the redressal of grievances and protection of rights of Indian workers.

A recent CIMS survey has found that more than 11 percent of returning migrants have complained of ‘wage theft’, or being forced to return without being paid.

So far, Kerala has the largest source of Indian migrants to the Gulf. 

Over 15.36 lakh migrant workers have returned to the state until July 15 since the pandemic broke out according to the state government’s Department of Non-Resident Keralite’s Affairs (NORKA). 

Interestingly, around 10.98 lakh people have mentioned that the loss of a job was the reason for their return.

Alarmingly, the phenomenon of return migration has increased for Indian migrants from the Gulf, even before the pandemic struck. 

So far, The government has been fixing minimum referral wages to regulate the wages of Indian migrant workers who are employed in different occupations, in countries falling under the category of “emigration check required” . 

Recently, the government said the Minimum Referral Wages (MRWs) for employment in six Gulf countries is the same now as it was in 2019-20.

Currently, the Emigration Bill, 2021, is at the consultation stage with all stakeholders.

It basically aims to establish a comprehensive emigration framework with adequate opportunities for migration and mobility and safeguards against exploitation of Indian workers abroad.

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