Unspecified number of Bangladeshis among 300 expatriate workers has been left in lurch without salaries and food in United Arab Emirates, according to UAE newspaper reported on Friday.
Many of the workers want to go back home, but they have their visas expired, which the employer has refused to renew, the Khaleej Times reports.
The workers were staying in labour accommodation in Sonapur and all of them were sitting jobless with expired visas as the work on their sites have stopped due to lack of funds, newspaper reported.
‘Over 300 blue collar workers of a private firm in Dubai are struggling to make ends meet as they have not received their salaries for several months now. It was when they began facing shortage of food and health issues due to stress, Dar Al Ber Society stepped in to help,’ it reported.
Dar Al Ber Society, a charity, has also informed the consulates of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan — as all the workers belong to one of the three countries — that have swung into action, bringing some hope to the workers.
Describing his desperation, a Bangladeshi worker in his 30s said, ‘It has been so many months that we stopped working and hence we are penniless. Forget about sending money home, right now, we have no food to eat, our visas are expired and our passport is still with the employer, who has been making promises after promises that he would pay us soon. But nothing has worked out yet. We cannot work elsewhere as we don’t have our documents, we have no source of income or even can’t return home.’
Another worker told Khaleej Times, ‘We have been in a miserable condition as we have no money to buy food.
‘We are living on the mercy of passersby or nearby cafeterias, who have pity on us and sometimes give us food. But that won’t last long as they won’t provide us food everyday free of cost and it is too embarrassing to beg for food.
‘We came here to work respectably, earn and take care of ourselves and our families. Not to beg or become illegal residents, which is what we are now as the company has made no arrangement to renew our visas.’
As Khaleej Times contacted the employer, he promised to clear the dues of the workers at the earliest and said he had already dispatched one batch of salaries and would try and payout the rest of the workers in the coming month.
UAE is the second largest destination for Bangladeshi workers after Saudi Arabia. Over 23 lakh workers from Bangladesh have gone to work in UAE since 1976, according to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.