Saudi Arabia tops Indian Gulf workers’ ‘victimisation’ list: MEA

77,155 complaints were registered by Indians working in Gulf countries. File Photo

Of the total complaints of ‘victimisation’ registered by Indian workers in Gulf countries, 36 per cent are from Saudi Arabia, while just 3 per cent are from Bahrain.

In the last four years (2016-June 2019), 77,155 complaints were registered by Indians working in Gulf countries, according to data presented by the Ministry of External Affairs in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

About 19 per cent of the total complaints have come from Kuwait, followed by Oman (15 per cent), Qatar (14 per cent) and the UAE (13 per cent).

Most of the complaints received from and on behalf of Indian workers relate to non-payment of salaries and denial of labour rights and benefits such as non-issuance/renewal of residence permits or non-payment/grant of overtime allowance.

Other complaints were about weekly holidays, longer working hours, refusal to grant exit/re–entry permits for visits to India, non-provision of medical and insurance facilities, not paying compensation upon death, etc.

In Gulf countries, Indian workers are employed on a contractual basis, and have to return to India on completion of their contract period, which is generally 2-3 years. In some cases, the workers complained that they were refused permission to leave the country on a final exit visa after their contracts expired.

Complaints, ‘marginal’

Answering the question in the Lok Sabha on July 10, the Ministry had stated that the Indian Missions in Gulf countries receive many complaints, but compared to the proportion of Indian workers in Gulf countries, such complaints are “marginal”.

According to the Indian Missions, the main reason for such problems is illegal migration or landing in Gulf countries through unscrupulous agents.

Other reasons include economic and financial challenges of employers, including bankruptcy; disputes with sponsors or companies, including on issues such as the amount of salary to be paid and working conditions; and violation of local laws such as working for a party other than the sponsor.

Radheshyam Jadhav  Pune | Updated on July 17, 2019  Published on July 17, 2019