During the COVID-19 pandemic, CIMS campaigned against non-payment of wages of
migrant workers. As a partner of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) who initiated the campaign
globally, CIMS leads the campaign in India. During the pandemic millions of migrant workers
in destination countries, many of whom have experienced job loss or non-payment of
wages, been forced by employers to take unpaid leave or reduced wages, been confined in
poor living conditions, and with little or no engagement in the work options before them.
Many migrant workers also struggle with the dilemma of exercising their right to return in
these circumstances, while others remain stranded in cities without access to services or
support, or in border areas, living in precarious conditions. The employers might take
advantage of mass repatriation programs to terminate and return workers who have not
been paid their due compensation, wages and benefits. The governments, missions and a
number of stakeholders remain complacent on the issues of wage theft, especially in the
South Asia – GCC migration corridor.
CIMS, with the support of its partner Lawyers Beyond Borders (LBB) brought out the issue of
wage theft to the public sphere through legal battles. CIMS has documented around 700
cases of wage theft since July and begun to advocate with the national and destination
governments for ensuring the payment of wages and dues of migrant workers. CIMS
successfully negotiated with employers at the destination countries and ensured payment
of remaining wages and dues for the workers who lost jobs.