How 5 TS migrant workers stuck in Dubai returned home after viral appeal to KTR

A few days ago, a video of five migrant workers—four from Rajanna Siricilla district and one from Nizamabad district—stuck in Dubai went viral.

By Sumavarsha kandula  Published on  16 Oct 2022 12:33 PM GMT
How 5 TS migrant workers stuck in Dubai returned home after viral appeal to KTR

Hyderabad: A few days ago, a video of five migrant workers—four from Rajanna Siricilla district and one from Nizamabad district—stuck in Dubai went viral.

In the viral video, the migrant workers address minister and Rajanna Siricilla MLA KTR and explain, "We have come to Dubai for work, but after having some issues with the company and losing our job, we are now stuck here. Anna, we don't have any money to eat or even drink water. We were at the airport. Finally, after getting some money from home, we booked the tickets to come back. After boarding, they tore our tickets and said we couldn't travel. We have been at the airport since morning; no one can guide us or tell us what to do. You should help us come back home."

KTR has responded to their plea and asked officials in Dubai to help them. Following this, the officials have agreed to bring the migrant workers home.

NewsMeter spoke to the Gulf Workers Protection Committee's president Gundelli Narasimha, who has been working on the ground. "They came to Dubai four months back, but they were not getting their salary that was fixed earlier. They started having issues regarding the same, but the company claimed they were absconding following an altercation. There were absconding orders from the labor ministry and immigration office. After that, the company asked them to vacate the workers' camp, but their passports weren't withheld. Later, they somehow managed to arrange for money to buy tickets to fly back home," he said.

So why were they not allowed to go back home?

"The issue was with the absconding order and the police case regarding the altercation. At the immigration, there was a travel ban on them," explained Mr. Narasimha.

When they could not get help from the airport officials, they resorted to releasing the video addressing KTR. Once the video caught the minister's attention, he informed the Telangana government's NRI department and the Indian consulate. They then contacted Mr. Narasimha, saying the migrant workers had to be brought back home.

"But before the Telangana government approached me, I followed up on the case. We have solved the case after talking to the company HR through the embassy. After discussing the issues, they withdrew the police case. Still, regarding the absconding complaints at the ministry of labor and immigration, we were asked to follow the due course. As social workers, we knew what had to be done concerning the paperwork. There was a fine of 100 Dirham on each of them. We had to pay the fine and take police and immigration clearance. In this case, the Telangana government has handled all the charges," said Mr. Narasimha.

When asked what the government can do to help the immigrants, he said, "This is not something new. There were similar instances earlier of migrant workers from Telangana being stuck in Dubai. We dealt with so many of them. Even in case of death, we brought their bodies back."

Following the recent case, he urged the Telangana government to stand with the workers. "They (migrant workers) may be from any district, but the government should help them at least financially. In this case, as they were from Siricilla, KTR, as MLA of that region, came forward. From now on, every MLA has to take care of the workers from their constituency. If the government can take care of the ticket and other costs, we are ready to do the groundwork without expecting one paisa," said Mr. Narasimha.

Policy for Gulf workers' need of the hour

Bheem Reddy, a migrants' rights activist, journalist, and analyst on Gulf migration, said that in 2016, KTR had promised to establish an NRI policy for the people of Telangana. "But till now, the government has not acted on it. Safe and legal migration has to be provided, and for this, awareness has to be created. There should be a 24-hour helpline and a one-stop solution for this," he added.

"Telangana migrants in the Gulf send over Rs. 27,000 crores each year, which directly and indirectly helps the economy. The government should respond by devoting Rs. 500 crores in the annual budget to the welfare of Gulf migrants and their families who have been left behind," he said.

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