UAE boasts of happy Nepali workers

Govind Mishra

Abu Dhabi, June 15:

After editing so many sad stories that narrated tales of abandoned and exploited migrant workers in the gulf region, the first hand account of Salauddin, working in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, was quite an eye opener. Salauddin is from Nawalparasi and has been working in Taj Restaurant in Abu Dhabi for the last 11 months as a waiter. After serving an excellent Lassi made more delicious by the searing 43 degree heat and 90 per cent humidity, Salauddin presented a picture of satisfaction. Talking about the heat, he said, “It does not bother us much, since the restaurant is air-conditioned and the place we live in, also has an AC.”

He has been sharing living quarters with his friend from Nawalparasi, Badrudoza. Badrudoza has been in Abu Dhabi for longer and has never seen but once, a sad tale come true. He recalled only one occasion when a worker from Nepal was miserable there. That too, he said, primarily due to the fact that the boy was utterly homesick. Although clearly guarded in their reply when it came to specifics about payments, both the workers said that they were more than satisfied with what they were getting. In fact they added that it has exceeded their expectation.

Another migrant worker Man Bahadur Thapa has been working as a guard in one of the famous Souq (gold markets) in Dubai. After four years at his work, today he earns 1,100 dirhams a month, which is equivalent to Rs 22,000 roughly. Delivering another blow to the myth of extortion and misery, he said that he, along with scores of others like him from Nepal, have been working steadily in Dubai without any complaints about either living conditions or payment patterns. He said, “New recruits at a job like mine are paid around 800 dirhams, if they are recruited from Nepal. In case, a person has come visiting a relative in Dubai and finds a job, he is likely to earn around 900 to 1,000 dirham a month.” We met at least four other Nepali workers in the Abu Dhabi airport lounge working as official porters and employed by the civil aviation authority there. Manoj Thakur from Janakpur said that majority of the porters at Abu Dhabi airport are from Nepal who have been sent here through placement agencies in Nepal.

If what these workers have to say is anything to go by, there is hardly any reason to worry for them. In fact, all of them expressed concern over what is happening in Nepal and worried for their family members. They are also worried over the fact that their hard-earned money, being sent home, may expose their families to extortion and lead to some sort of a grief.