International Concerns Grow Over Treatment Of Indian Workers Overseas

Recent fatalities in Kuwait underscore broader safety issues for Indian workers in countries like Qatar, Russia, and Israel, prompting calls for stronger protections

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Migrant Worker Exploitation Fuels Construction Boom In United Arab Emirates Photo via Getty

On the morning of 12 June, a fire broke out in a residential building in Kuwait, killing about 50 people and leaving more than 50 seriously injured. All the dead and injured were migrant workers who were working there. Most of these migrant workers were Indians. As soon as this news reached India, the media and civil society started targeting the government.

In a report released by the International Labor Organization in 2018, it was claimed that about 90 lakh Indians are working in Gulf Cooperation Council countries, most of whom are forced to do low-skilled jobs for very little money. In such a situation, the ILO also recommended that the Indian government should pay attention to this issue.

However, this is not the first time that the issue of Indian migrant workers living abroad has become a topic of discussion. In the last few years, many such cases have come up where the issue of migrant workers has been raised.

Indian workers in Israel

In April this year, the government decided to send 6000 Indian workers to Israel to do construction work under a G2G (Government to Government) agreement. The reason cited for this was the shortage of workers in Israel due to the ongoing war on Palestine. Civil societies and workers unions have strongly criticized the government's decision, saying that the government is pushing its citizens into a pit of death by sending them to a country where there is a war going on.

Indians working in Russia

In February this year, the Russian government recruited about 100 Indians as military helpers to work in the Russia-Ukraine war. Two of the Indians who were living in Russia for this job have lost their lives in the war. The families of the workers have also given applications to various departments against Russia's hiring.

Indian workers in Qatar

The decision to host the 2022 FIFA in Qatar was taken in 2012 itself, due to which Qatar hired workers from many countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh for infrastructure development from FIFA. According to a report by the Guardian, during this construction work of ten years, more than 6500 workers lost their lives, among whom many were Indians.

Indian workers in Singapore

In 2020, anti-India sentiments were seen among the people of Singapore. Many such cases were seen where Indian workers working in Singapore were bullied on social media and in the workplace. The reason given for this was that out of every 100 workers in Singapore, 40 are foreigners, most of whom are Indians. The people of Singapore alleged that Indians were ignoring their job responsibilities.