Exploitation of gullible migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is likely to come down in a big way. The UAE government has decreed that job offers and contracts can be in nine languages in addition to English and Arabic, given the demographic profile of the migrant workers, who are mostly from South Asia.
"Other than Arabic and English, nine languages have been selected, including Bengali, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Malayalam, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, Tamil and Urdu; those languages have been picked according to statistics highlighting the highest number of workers using them," said Humaid bin Deemas, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, UAE, according to the Khaleej Times.
"Adding these new languages confirm the ministry's keenness to promote transparency between both parties on terms and conditions of employment and the rights and obligations, before coming to the country to attend to their duties," he added.
There are about 2.6 million Indians in the UAE, and they form the largest expatriate community in the country, according to the Indian embassy there.
Exploitation of migrant workers was common till the 1990s, mainly due to employers not abiding by their contractual obligations in terms of their working and living conditions, according to the embassy's website, which adds that there has been improvement since then.
The latest move will enable workers to understand the terms of employment in the contract and reduce the scope for exploitation.
In December 2015, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that 7,432 complaints of exploitation of workers in the Gulf region were registered in 2015, including 126 in the UAE. Kuwait topped the list with 3,236 such complaints.
The most recent case was that of workers from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh being forced to stay in a bus for 14 days in Dubai after they were duped by an agency called Qasr Al-Ameer.
They were helped by two Indians living in Dubai to return home.