09/09/2020

South Asian migrant workers seek justice as wage theft worsens under coronavirus - Reuters

BIG STORY 10
SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 / 8:10 AM / UPDATED 13 HOURS AGO

South Asian migrant workers seek justice as wage theft
worsens under coronavirus
Anuradha Nagaraj, Naimul Karim, Ban Barkawi

CHENNAI/DHAKA/AMMAN, Sep 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nizar Kochery has
been fighting for migrant workers’ rights in the courts for decades, but he has never felt so
overwhelmed.
As the coronavirus pandemic forced tens of thousands of South Asian migrants to leave the
Gulf countries where they worked, the Doha-based lawyer was flooded with calls about
unpaid wages and job losses.
“Non-payment of wages or benefits has always plagued migrant workers in Gulf countries,”
said Kochery, who specialises in labour law and advises many embassies in Qatar.
“But during COVID, the impact is being felt 100 times more. People left in fear, in a hurry,
and most did not have time to collect pending wages or benefits as they boarded special
flights to return home. Now they are counting their losses.”
South Asians have for years travelled to wealthier Gulf countries for employment, mostly as
domestic workers or in the construction and hospitality sectors.
One migrant worker often supports many relatives and can earn far more than they would
make in the same job at home.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-migrants-wages-insight-trfn/south-asian-migrant-workers-seek-justice-as-wage-theft-worsens-under-cor…

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