Indian workers in the Gulf can hope for a secure work environment as the government is planning to ink bilateral agreements with some of the countries on workers’ welfare.
The Union cabinet is set to approve a draft bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia on Friday —one of the top destinations for Indian immigrants.
Among the key measures, the Centre wants to ensure that all domestic workers in Saudi Arabia will have mandatory bank accounts and their employers will be legally obliged to deposit their salaries in that account every month. As there are several reports of financial deprivation and non-payment of wages to forced labour, New Delhi is keen to push the Gulf countries to bring transparency in the system.
The agreement also aims to make the working conditions and other contractual obligations of workers compatible with the labour laws of both countries, otherwise the hiring or placement agencies would not be allowed to recruit expat workers.
According to a 2010 World Bank Report, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are among the top ten destinations of immigrant workers and Indians form a large chunk of this workforce.
According to a government estimate, almost 28.50 lakh Indian workers are working in the Gulf countries and allegations of violation of contractual obligations are quite common.