PRESS RELEASE ASIA-MIDDLE EAST REGION SEES DEVASTATING LEVELS OF WAGE THEFT AGAINST MIGRANT WORKERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC MIGRANT WORKERS FROM INDIA, INDONESIA, NEPAL, PHILIPPINES, AND BANGLADESH IN GREAT DISTRESS: JUSTICE FOR WAGE THEFT 2ND ANALYSIS REPORT For immediate release/ Manila, 30 June 2021 — Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) members and partners have together launched the second volume of the bi-annual analysis report, “Crying Out for Justice: Wage Theft Against Migrant Workers during COVID-19” which documents cases of wage theft from the period of January and May 2021. The report marks the first anniversary of the Justice for Wage Theft campaign. A joint effort by a large coalition of trade unions and civil society organisations inaugurated on 1 June 2020, the campaign calls for an urgent justice mechanism for migrant workers repatriated due to the COVID-19 pandemic without being paid their due wages, salaries, and end-of-service benefits. More than a year after the pandemic, up to millions of migrant workers are still anxiously waiting for their wages, as there has been hardly any progress with respect to access to justice. A total of 1,113 new cases were filed on the JWT-Uwazi platform during the reporting period. In terms of the locations where the cases occurred (country of destination), the United Arab Emirates topped the chart with 357 cases, followed by 252 cases in Saudi Arabia and 182 cases in Kuwait. Malaysia, the Philippines, Bahrain, Qatar, China and Oman each have between 18 and 95 cases. Counting by countries of origin, 620 cases were India, followed by 200 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 2020, there has also been a significant increase of cases of wage theft reported in domestic work, retail and among office staff.

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