As India begins to evacuate citizens from Gulf, many migrants are anxious about their futures

As India begins to evacuate citizens from Gulf, many migrants are anxious about their futures

The Indian government will dispatch the world’s largest evacuation mission to bring back lakhs of Indians stranded abroad in the midst of the corona virus pandemic this week. In any event 10 flights will be worked on Thursday, the first day of the operation. This will be trailed by trips over the coming days to, among different spots, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

These six states – which together structure the gathering Gulf Cooperation Council – have had long monetary, social and diasporic ties with India. By certain appraisals, eight to 9,000,000 Indians work in the locale. Half of them are unskilled, 30% semi-skilled, and the rest skilled. Altogether, they contribute half of the foreign exchange remittances to India – not an insignificant amount when the total is $69 billion, or Rs 5.2 lakh crore. [1]

As per a survey of migrant workers who returned to India from 6 Gulf Cooperation nations, following things were pointed out.

Most migrants needed an assurance of continued work, security of work contracts and residence permits. As a prompt measure, they required monetary help to stay afloat, unwinding in payment of costs, (for example, lease, advances, EMIs) and affordable healthcare. Just a fourth of the respondents – those left profoundly defenceless on the grounds that loss of occupations or having health dangers – needed to get back.

Employment losses

All the respondents knew at any rate one individual who had lost their employment in the midst of the Covid-19 emergency, and half of them announced that their organizations were laying off individuals, for the most part migrants. Among those furloughed or conserved were individuals in sales, services, hotel industry, or lower down the order in the financial sector.

Skilled labour and healthcare workers got away from the pandemic’s monetary cost. But even among them, and others still employed, there were worries. A few were given their pay rates in January or February, however not in March. Some were confronting a 25% cut in compensation for the following three months. Many were uncertain if their agreements would be broadened, and others were concerned they would lose their employment in the event that they leave the nation.

Seth, who works as a factory worker in the UAE, said he could not go back to India despite earning very little. The sole breadwinner in his family of six, he has “loans to repay”. “My company gives me accommodation,” he said. “If its factory shuts down and I lose my job, it will be difficult to continue here.”

Vinod and Ahmed were in the same boat. Both lost their jobs in the midst of the pandemic and were left vulnerable. Vinod, a technician in Kuwait, who stays in a rented apartment with friends, hadn’t been able to send money home. And Ahmed, 52, who moved to Qatar in January, was let go while still in his probation period: “I didn’t get any money, including airfare, which they are supposed to provide if the contract is terminated early.”

Monetary distress

A major concern of our respondents was rent. A reduction in salary, or working hours, had left a quarter of them unable to pay rent. Almost half of the respondents couldn’t send money home. On top of that, many had loans to repay. One respondent from the UAE said, “I have a personal loan of Rs 88,000 per month. But for the next three months, my company is deducting a quarter of my salary and sending me on one week’s compulsory leave without pay every month.”

Raj, a cook in Oman, said, “After almost two years, I came home for 56 days on unpaid leave. I was supposed to be back by the second week of March, but as Qatar imposed a ban on travellers from India, I couldn’t. My work contract will expire by June. I am worried about my chances of going back.” These people were asked to go on an unpaid leave, with no clarity on future prospects.

While most nations have thought of solid measures to ensure native workers, their protections for migrant laborers are not practically identical. Privately owned businesses can, by mutual agreement, offer vagrant representatives choices, for example, remote working, paid or unpaid leave, transitory or lasting pay cut. There are arrangements for moving between employments, augmentation of residence and work permits without expenses or at lower charges and security of privileges. For instance, the UAE has set up a Virtual Labour Market System for unemployed foreign workers to secure elective positions.


Article Written By- Lavanya Ambalkar
Law Student– Symbiosis Law school, Pune
(HRDI Work From Home Internship