The government plans to evacuate thousands of Indian workers who have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia and cannot afford to pay for a flight home. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Monday the government is trying to arrange exit documents for those workers who wish to return to India. The workers were mostly employed by Saudi construction companies and were laid off amid a slowdown in the industry caused by low global oil prices. About 10,000 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia have lost their jobs.
The plight of the laid-off workers was raised by lawmakers in India’s Parliament on Monday. Indians are among millions of poor Asians working in the Gulf states, where human rights groups say many suffer exploitation and abuses including non-payment of wages, with no channels for redress. In March, a special report in Hindustan Times had warned that the Gulf dream was becoming a nightmare for thousands of Indians who work in the region or are dependent on remittances. A recap of our report:
Falling oil prices and a flood of cheap labour from other countries is turning sour the dreams of millions of Indians in the oil-rich Gulf and threatening to choke the stream of remittances their families depend on.
Money or dignity: The dilemma of Indians in the Gulf
Fewer Indian workers are travelling to the Gulf, stung by practices such as nitaqat (employing local people), cheap migrant labour from countries such as Bangladesh, stricter crackdown on illegal workers and a slump in the once-booming construction sector. Raging conflict in neighbouring countries such as Yemen, Libya, and Iraq is also contributing to the problem. And the worst may not be over yet for the seven-million strong Indian diaspora and their families in states such as Kerala that draw a major chunk of revenue from remittances, say experts. Devon Kennard Womens JerseyShare This