Hidden Secrets: Origins of the labour class, informal contracts and policy.
A large part of the population of Dubai is manifested in the form of an influx of illegal immigrant workers, from countries of South Asia, namely India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. According to certain estimates, close to half a million migrant construction workers live in Dubai. There are a number of companies in Dubai, the sole purpose of which is to recruit these migrant labourers to work in Dubai. These companies have agents, that travel to the poor countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they seek to final people in the rural areas of these countries, in search of better opportunities in life. These workers are promised a certain minimum wage, however their actual salaries are sometimes, not even half of what they are promised. They are made to sign ‘false’ contracts, and once they reach Dubai, these contracts are subsequently torn up, and their passports are seized and hoarded by these agents, who basically become their owners (for the lack of a better word). It is a mild form of slavery, that violates several basic human rights. The workers are ‘in some sense’ imprisoned or confined to these labor camps, that eerily resemble, military concentration camps, so that the owners of the companies are able to exercise complete control over their movement and lifestyle. At times, these agencies charge them with a visa fee, which is an exorbitant amount close to the likes of a few thousand dollars, which it takes them months to pay off. So, they often end up having to wait quite a while before they can actually send any money home, which is the reason they came to Dubai in the first place, under the false promise of a better life and financial stability, neither of which are achieved, in fact one may say, the situation takes a turn towards the opposite direction.
Elsheshtawy, Yasser. Dubai behind an Urban Spectacle. London: Routledge, 2010.
MailOnline, Sam. “The Side of Dubai That They DON’T Want Tourists to See: Photos Show Desperate Conditions Endured by Migrant Labourers Forced to Work in 50C Heat for a Pittance.” Mail Online. December 4, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2859734/The-Dubai-DON-T-want-tourists-Photos-desperate-conditions-endured-migrant-labourers-forced-work-50C-heat-pittance.html.