05/07/2021

Long Wait for Justice for Migrant Workers Affected by Wage Theft - Delhi Post

Also Read : A Post Pandemic Outlook on Migration, Human Rights and
Businesses

The report found that 1,113 new cases were registered on the JWT-Uwazi platform, a
portal for repatriated migrant workers to register complaints, between January and May
2021. While 175 of these were individual cases, 22 were group cases. A majority of these
cases occurred in the United Arab Emirates (357), with Saudi Arabia (252) and Kuwait
(82). Malaysia, the Philippines, Bahrain, Qatar, China, and Oman are some other
countries of destination that registered close to 100 cases.
As for the countries of origin, 620 migrant workers who registered their cases for wage
theft were from India. Roughly 200 were from Indonesia, 116 from Nepal, 115 from
Bangladesh, and 62 from the Philippines.
The largest number of cases of wage theft were recorded from the construction sector
(59%). This was followed by the manufacturing sector (13%), domestic work (10.33%) and
retail (4%). Compared to the 2020 data analysed by MFA, there has also been a significant
increase in the cases of wage theft reported in domestic work, retail and among office staff.
William Gois, the Regional Coordinator of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA),
said, “Prevalence of wage theft is endemic to labour migration.”
With thousands of migrant workers suffering from wage theft in the Asia region, the
gravity of the issue across the globe is expected to be much more devastating in scale.
Without proper procedures in place to document and monitor the grievances of migrant
workers throughout the repatriation process, millions of cases of wage theft during the
pandemic are predicted to go unaddressed. Moreover, migrants themselves are hesitant or
refuse to report or file a case in fear of retaliation from employers and in fear of being
unable to pursue new employment opportunities.
Further, the absence of an effective mechanism to aid migrant workers to get back their
wages will lead to further exploitation. “They will only remain victims to an exploitative
and unjust system that will continue to prevail in labour migration governance,” the report
reads.
Within the 22 group cases that were registered this year, the suffering of 938 individuals
was recorded. A large number of group cases has become a far better indicator of
corporate accountability affecting large companies of more than 100 workers. The
majority of group cases were filed from India: 11 group cases, comprising of 741 migrant

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