Hundreds of Indian migrant workers labour cases remain unresolved at Indian embassies in Saudi Arabia and Oman in 2020 according to data from RTI queries.
The Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia could resolve only 27 percent of labour cases filed by Indian migrant workers between Jan and December 2020.
Out of the 2,376 cases filed, the embassy could resolve only 645 cases.
In 2019, the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia had managed to resolve 98 percent of the Indian migrant workers’ cases.
In Oman, the Indian embassy could resolve only 40 percent of the labour cases filed by Indian migrant workers between Jan and December 2020. Among the 1030 cases filed, the embassy could resolve only 414 cases.
In 2019, the Indian embassy in Oman had managed to resolve 60 percent of the Indian migrant workers’ cases.
According to the RTIs, the majority of the labour cases filed dealt with:
1. Non-payment of salary
3. Harassment by the employer
4 Transportation of mortal remains
5. Imprisonment and other jail issues.
Embassies Failed to Help
Talking to The Leaflet, Abdul Lateefh, an Indian social worker in Riyadh for the last three decades, said: “COVID-19 restrictions might have been a problem for the Indian embassies in resolving cases. But, the Indian government should have understood the looming crisis and acted on time by enabling other platforms in resolving cases. The RTI data reveal that our government failed to help workers even during the crisis,” he said.
Pushing the migrant workers in trouble, on March 15, Saudi stopped international flights and Oman had closed its airspace on March 29 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to the closing of airspace, the Arab countries also imposed curfews and lockdowns leaving the migrant workers in more trouble. Many migrant workers were even stranded in worksites when sudden lockdowns were announced. This led to a lot of migrants suffering.