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Gulf: Rising cases of wage theft among Asian migrants must be fought collectively

“Non-payment of wages or benefits has always plagued migrant workers in Gulf countries,” said [lawyer Nizar] Kochery...

“during COVID, the impact is being felt 100 times more... most did not have time to collect pending wages or benefits as they boarded special flights to return home. Now they are counting their losses.”...

The number of wage theft cases reported from Gulf countries rose more than three-fold between April and July compared with the same period last year, says the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre...

A petition filed in an Indian court by Lawyers Beyond Borders... said employers were taking advantage of mass repatriation programs to repatriate workers who had not been paid...

[BHRRC's Isobel Archer] said companies should take action to allow repatriated workers to file and follow up on claims of unpaid dues from abroad and access documents in their home languages.

“Workers don’t have any leverage when the labour system itself is not fit for purpose,” she said, adding that companies should not need states to intervene to ensure their workers have access to justice.