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18 Jan 2021

Pete Pattison, Guardian (UK)

G4S faces calls to repay fees paid by migrant workers to recruitment agents for jobs in Gulf states & conflict zones - includes co comments

See all tags Allegations

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Migrant workers working for the British security company G4S in the United Arab Emirates have collectively been forced to pay millions of pounds in illegal fees to recruitment agents to secure their jobs...An investigation into G4S’s recruitment practices has found that workers from south Asia and east Africa have been made to pay up to £1,775 to recruitment agents working for the British company in order to get jobs as security guards for G4S in the UAE.Forcing workers to pay recruitment fees is a widespread practice, but one that is illegal in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The practice allows companies to pass on the costs of recruitment to workers from some of the poorest countries in the world, leaving many deep in debt and vulnerable to modern forms of slavery...“Businesses must repay employees who have had to pay these illegal and exploitative costs in order to get their jobs. The costs of recruitment should be borne by the employer, not the worker,” said James Lynch, a director at FairSquare Projects, which advocates for migrant rights in the Gulf....A G4S spokesperson said: “G4S is committed to the highest standards to ensure that migrant workers are treated with respect and dignity. We are working to raise global standards across the industry with all our partners.”G4S added that it had adopted an “employer pays” principle in the UAE and where it does use recruitment agents it selects them using a code of conduct, “which includes a strict requirement not to charge migrant workers any recruitment fees”.