India receives the highest amount of remittances in the world, it received US $66.30 billion in the year 2014-15. It is one of the main reasons that India could survive the recession that saw many big economies collapse. The biggest share we receive is from the Gulf countries, where the majority of the remittance comes from the low skilled or unskilled labor workers. Despite their invaluable contributions to our country, many Indian migrant workers continue to face exploitative working conditions, forced labor, non-payment of wages and other forms of human rights abuse that sometimes plunge them into slavery-like conditions. Let’s take a look at the hassles our working class employees faces,
- Deception by visa brokers and recruiting agents:
They are victims of various forms of deception and trickery at the recruitment stage. These include excess charges for visas and other travel documents, processing of fake travel documents without informing the workers of their illegitimate status, recruitment for non-existent jobs, misrepresenting the job and working conditions, providing falsely inflated loans that lead to situations of bonded labor. We have heard countless stories of migrant workers landing in the wrong country and being stranded there, being jailed for having the wrong documents, finding their salary or work conditions are not what they were promised. This is compounded by:
- Lack of awareness of pre-departure training:
Lack of authentic and timely information relating to overseas employment, recruitment agencies and immigration procedures makes workers dependent on intermediaries and vulnerable to exploitation. And,
- Lack of access to remedies:
The power differential between workers and recruiting agents makes it difficult for workers who face abuse to secure justice. Enforcement mechanisms are not strong enough and complaints registered rarely lead to convictions.These are some of the major problems that are faced by the working class employees while they are going abroad.