India has decided to scrap the financial guarantee scheme for migrants working as domestic help in Oman.
These workers are often harassed by agencies that send them to the Middle-eastern country or by their employers. Reports says many employers have denied their payments, making them stay there for longer without resources.
The Indian Embassy of Oman issued a circular on Monday (Sept 19) about discontinuing the financial guarantee scheme. This will ensure smooth hiring by employers and recruitment agencies.
Recently, the Indian government scrapped a similar scheme in Kuwait. Talks are on to do the same for Bahrain too
“It seems that the Indian government is going to remove the bank guarantee protection for Indian women domestic workers in all Gulf countries, leaving them less protected,” said Josephine Valarmathi of the National Domestic Workers Movement in India, NDTV reports.
According to Oman government data, Arab countries employ almost 700,000 Indians. Women constitute 6 per cent of the total, working as domestic help. They are often physically and sexually abused. Men work as construction workers, gardeners and drivers.
“Even after being recruited through official channels, Indian women domestic helps are exploited both physically and mentally,” – Rafeek Ravuther
The abuse of domestic workers in the past had led India to sign a treaty with Oman. It said that employers have to provide a bank guarantee certificate of $2,800 to the Indian embassy in Muscat. This was to protect the domestic workers’ interest in cases of non-payment of dues and harassment. This would also ensure that their employers fund their medical aid if the workers have to return home after abuse.
However, this agreement only works if the six recognised state recruitment agencies employ the domestic workers. Women using unofficial channels or conned by fake agents did not come under the government agreement.
India also tried to raise worker protection in gulf countries by setting up E-migrate in 2015. It required employers to get online clearance from the government to hire blue-collar workers and domestic helps.
Back then, India authorised around 60,000 domestic workers to work in the Middle-east until December 2016.
“Even after official channels recruit women domestic workers their employers exploit them both physically and mentally,” said Rafeek Ravuther, director of the Centre for Indian Migrant Studies told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Petitioners are calling for strict measures to protect the lives of women working as domestic helps in Gulf countries.
Picture credit- DNA