Reuters | 13 April 2017
NEW YORK: South Asian migrants powering the construction boom in Gulf countries are often illegally made to pay for their own recruitment, adding to hardships of poor working conditions and wages, according to an investigation.
Millions of migrants seeking a way out of poverty by working in Gulf nations from Qatar to the UAE must routinely pay fees that can equal a year’s salary, US researchers said in a report.
“Recruitment is not free,” said David Segall, of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, who coauthored the report. “Somebody does have to bear these costs, but that of course should be the employing company.”
The findings come as conditions for construction workers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh in the 2022 FIFA World Cup host, Qatar, have come under scrutiny from rights groups who say migrants live in squalor and work without proper access to water and shelter.
In five fact-finding missions to the Gulf and South Asia, the researchers found workers are typically made to pay for their airfare from South Asia and their work visa — often at inflated prices.
Selling visas for profit is illegal in the six Gulf countries the researchers investigated.
But violations are rarely prosecuted and punished by authorities, their report said