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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Official: More low-income workers in Qatar seeking asylum, but finding none


An increasing number of low-income workers have said they want to leave Qatar after fallouts with their employers, but are finding they have nowhere to stay while the paperwork is sorted out, an official at the Indian embassy said.

That’s because deportation centers are already at capacity, Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, an Indian ambassador, recently told reporters.

Many of these men decide to go home because they have not been paid for several months or because the work they are assigned was not agreed upon in their contracts, she said.

The Peninsula reports:

It is learned that on average some 20 lowly-paid Indians are approaching the embassy every week over the past few months for help in repatriation.

Such workers were earlier able to stay on with friends or relatives waiting to be eventually let in by the detention centres, but after the Interior Ministry’s recent campaign to fish out illegal workers, no one is willing to risk providing them temporary shelter.

Under Qatari law, it is also illegal for embassies to house the men, Wadhwa said.

Meanwhile, some 41 low-income Indian workers have died of heart attacks this year. Heat stroke was cited as the chief cause behind the heart failure, embassy officials said. 

“When a young man of 25 dies of heart failure here, the cause is mostly heat stroke,” the Peninsula quoted an official as saying.

Indians are Qatar’s largest expat group, comprising more than half a million of the population. Most work in low- and middle-income jobs and many are unhappy with their living and working conditions.

Some hoped that their treatment would improve last month after the Emir made his first state visit to India since 2005, during which labor rights were reportedly discussed.

But it looks like things have not gotten better yet.


Credit: Photo by Richard Messenger

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