Oil price slump hits Gulf dream of In­dian work­ers

JOB WOES Seven-mil­lion strong di­as­pora stung by cheap labour, re­gional con­flict

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Jayanth Ja­cob letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Fall­ing oil prices and a flood of cheap labour from other coun­tries is turn­ing sour the dreams of millions of In­di­ans in the oil-rich Gulf and threat­en­ing to choke the stream of re­mit­tances their fam­i­lies de­pend on.

Fewer In­dian work­ers are trav­el­ling to the Gulf, stung by prac­tices such as ni­taqat (em­ploy­ing lo­cal peo­ple), cheap mi­grant labour from coun­tries such as Bangladesh, stricter crack­down on il­le­gal work­ers and a slump in the once-boom­ing con­struc­tion sec­tor.

Rag­ing con­flict in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries such as Ye­men, Libya, and Iraq is also con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem.

And the worst may not be over yet for the seven-mil­lion strong In­dian di­as­pora and their fam­i­lies in states such as Ker­ala that draw a ma­jor chunk of rev­enue from re­mit­tances, say ex­perts.

The cri­sis is hurt­ing em­ploy­ment prospects for In­dian em­i­grants such as Neha D’Souza*, who has been look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties in Dubai for a month.

“I still haven’t found a job. My cousin, who works in that coun­try, said the job sce­nario in Gulf coun­tries is re­ally bad at the mo­ment, and peo­ple are be­ing laid off. In fact, my cousin is also plan­ning to come back,” she said.

The job squeeze is trig­ger­ing a rise in cases of In­di­ans duped by un­scrupu­lous job deal­ers in the six Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) coun­tries — Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

CON­TIN­UED ON P8

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