A hidden army of millions of labourers from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal and other Asian countries construct and maintain the gleaming skyscrapers, sprawling shopping malls, roads, hotels, sports facilities in Dubai – a city that has erupted on the shores of the Arabian desert.
This is one of the wealthiest and most luxurious cities in the world, and it is the migrant workers who toil here that make this lifestyle possible. They created the physical environment, they maintain it in prosperity and luxury.
In return they get a little bit of the wealth, which they send home to take care of their families and prop up the home economies. Salaries and facilities in Dubai are better than some other countries where Nepali migrant workers go. However, their quarters are congested and some of the labour practices are problematic.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says in a recent study that 100 per cent of Nepali workers in the Gulf countries have their passports withheld, 80 per cent are confined to their place of employment, 76 per cent do not receive wages on time, 61 per cent have endured physical abuse, 52 per cent have reported excessive working hours and 50 per cent have been deprived of basic nourishment like food and drinks.
In addition, the price migrant workers pay for their salaries is prolonged separation from their families.