Need for Diaspora to support the intervention of states in dealing with the bilateral cooperation on labour issues: Dr. Bijulal

Published Date:   Friday, Dec 13, 2013

In a talk organized by GRFDT on the theme “Spheres of Interest and Representations of the Migrant: Are Rights Insignificant?”, on 23 November 2013 Dr. Bijulal M.V, Assistant Professor School of International Relations and Politics, MG University, Kottayam, Kerala mentioned that diaspora can play a constructive role in mediating the issues faced by the Indian migrants in Gulf. The speaker focussed on the recent crisis in the Gulf countries by highlighting the indigenisation of labour force in GCC countries by giving preference for nationals in public and private sector. On these lines the Saudi Arabia’s policy of Saudisation in their labour market which was initiated since last decade to tackle increasing unemployment among the Saudi nationals especially the youths and gained momentum with the recent democratic uprisings in the Arab world. The recent policy of Nitaqat inducted in 2009 by Saudi Arabia recommends one in ten employers should be a Saudi national and various sectors were demarcated for this purpose. This policy of Saudi has brought in a big demarcated change in the labour market with more preference for nationals than the migrants having impact on the major sending countries including India.

Similarly, in Oman, the Omanisation of labour market started very early, currently apart from majority of nationals working in the public sector, many nationals had occupied the private sector too. Same is the case with UAE in the name of Emiratization by giving preference to the nationals in place of expats and this would extend till 2016. The indigenisation or nationalisation of labour force is taken up by these Gulf countries in order to get international acceptance in favour of its citizens.

Since 2005, Qatar has been preparing to host the World cup and has been exploiting the migrant workers with major human rights violations in the construction sector. In spite of strong rebuttal from world human rights bodies, the situation continues to be worse with increasing demand for migrant workers in the construction sectors. For the betterment of its citizens, India has signed MoU and Agreement on the issues of protection of labour force against vulnerability and for welfare of the migrants.

Oman signed an agreement with India in 1985 on labour welfare emphasizing “welfare will be subjected to the National laws of the local authority”. On the same lines UAE signed an agreement with India on Manpower where expats are outside the consideration of the local laws. Workers who are engaged in casual works, household works, domestic maid, etc are exempted from the labour laws and are left in lure without proper protection mechanism and subjected to wide range of vulnerabilities and violations.

The author took references from the literatures on issues related with Diaspora to support the intervention of states in dealing with the bilateral cooperation on labour issues. To conclude the speaker was of the opinion that only the bilateral agreements for the protection and monitoring of labours would be the reasonable solution to solve the persisting problems faced by Indian workers in the Gulf countries.

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