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Article

19 Jan 2022

Author:
Hana Buhejji, Albawaba

GCC: Evidence suggests wage theft remains a prevalent issue for migrant workers in the region

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Allegations

"Slavery Entrenched by Law: Immigrant Workers in the Gulf - Story", 16 Jan 2022

According to the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s “contractual Relationship Improvement Initiative” document, which was prepared in August 2020, there are 1.2 million migrant workers whose wages have been delayed.

In Bahrain, Minister of Labor and Social Development Jameel Humaidan said that 2,863 workers in 18 companies received irregular wages in 2018...

In addition to legal migrant workers, who are theoretically protected by employment contracts but practically face the risk of “wage theft” due to employers’ exploitation and deception, there are hundreds of thousands of irregular migrant workers who are in fact the most vulnerable to “wage theft”...

In addition to migrant workers who face the risk of “wage theft”, domestic workers, particularly females, also face similar risks...Gulf countries exclude domestic workers from their wage protection systems.

In Saudi Arabia, labor courts. settled 31,766 lawsuits during the year when Covid-19 spread (from March 2020 until March 2021). Lawsuits that pertain to wages constituted 59% of them. Other lawsuits pertained to requesting compensations, allowances and bonuses, which all fall within the practice of “wage theft”.

Migrant workers also faced problems during the pandemic due to the suspension of work at some government departments...In the UAE, the suspension of labor courts’ work resulted in delaying looking into non-payment of wages lawsuits.