Thousands of South Asians migrate every year to wealthy Middle East countries dreaming of a better life. But the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has drawn global attention to the exploitation faced by many foreign workers.
“I was promised a job in a garage, but when I got to Qatar I had to work on scaffoldings 100-200 feet high. It was dangerous, but the managers turned a blind eye, saying we were responsible for our own safety. We were hired by contractors who forced us to work in which ever company they wished. I had gone to the emirate by taking out a loan at a high interest rate, but was unable to repay it because the company failed to pay me. Back in Nepal I had to sell my land in order to afford a heart operation to save my daughter’s life. I am in a crisis now.”
These are the words of Bide Majakoti, a Nepalese migrant worker, speaking to Equal Times – a site supported by the Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – about how he was lured by recruitment agents to work in the Arab state of Qatar under the illusion of making quick money.
But Majakoti is just one of the thousands of South Asian workers who travel every year to Gulf countries with the dream of making more money than they earn back home, only to find themselves living and working in harsh conditions with a lack or proper medical care, legal protection, and receiving late wages, if at all…