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MEEF - Middle East Projects News & Analyses - previous page

Kuwait government move to protect expatriate laborers

KUWAIT: Menial laborers in Kuwait and other Arab Gulf states often bear the brunt of mistreatment and exploitation by unscrupulous employers. As oil-rich governments fund massive construction projects, local firms recruit laborers - mostly Asian and Egyptian - from abroad.

Expatriate laborers in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accuse employers of widespread breaches of contract, failure to pay wages, poor living conditions, withholding employees' passports and overwork. The result is a growing effort by Asian governments to protect their nationals in the Arab Gulf.

In Kuwait, the Indian, Philippines and Sri Lanka embassies receive on average three to four runaway housemaids a day. The maids complain of ill treatment, overwork, lack of sleep and little food.

In Qatar, hundreds of Thai workers imported to help build the stadiums and sports arenas for the upcoming Asian Games, have fled to their embassy after their employers failed to pay wages on time.

Bangkok announced, as a consequence, that it would review its labor export agreement with Doha. More than 10,000 Thai construction workers have been hired in Qatar to ready Doha for the sports extravaganza due to take place next month.

The Thai News Agency quoted the official as saying that "to tackle problems confronting Thai workers in the Middle East, the Ministry of Labor would review its plan to export labor to Qatar."








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