Oil price slump hits Gulf dream of Indian workers
JOB WOES Seven-million strong diaspora stung by cheap labour, regional conflict
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.
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