As the coronavirus crisis continues to grapple the world, several countries that have temporary workers in the UAE have not come up to the expectations.
Among these countries are India and Pakistan, whose temporary workforce constitute the largest proportion of the total foreign workforce, or about 7 million workers in the UAE.
The crisis of the corona epidemic has caused a difficult economic situation world over, including the UAE, where the crisis has led to a large manpower losing their jobs.
Some discovered that staying in the UAE without salary indefinitely is not logical, while others mainly preferred rejecting the idea of working with half salary and a third category decided to return to stay with their families, especially during this crisis
Consequently hundreds of companies in the private sector have lost tens of billions of dollars as a result of the suspension of projects and the ban imposed on labour gatherings and work environments across the areas.
Accordingly, many projects have halted and the private sector employers, companies, and organisations have lost the ability to pay the costs of labour. They have offered redundant workforce all the options in accordance with new labour laws and legislations issued by the government of the UAE.
Faced with this difficult situation, and as a result of the restructuring of the labour market and the conditions of workers, a large part of the workers have decided to return to their home countries.
Some have lost their jobs and no longer have a source of income. Others have found themselves in front of the option to accept unpaid leave or half-salary leave, and a third category has not lost their jobs but had to give up on a lot of allowances and benefits and even a part of the salary.
Whatever the reasons, the fact a large number of workers have decided to return to their home countries. Some discovered that staying in the UAE without salary indefinitely is not logical, while others mainly preferred rejecting the idea of working with half salary and a third category decided to return to stay with their families, especially during this crisis.
Faced with this difficult situation, and with the spread of the Coronavirus, especially among the expatriate labourers in the country, thousands of Indian and Pakistani workers contacted their embassies and consulates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to inform their officials that they decided to return to home.
Even though this request came from the workers themselves and of their own free will, they did not receive any positive response from the embassies or their governments.
When it comes to relations between countries there are special interests and there is the public interest, and the UAE’s foreign policy has always been and still takes into account the interests of other countries and peoples in the first place and has never taken into account only its own interests.
In its relations with the subcontinent, and specifically India and Pakistan, the UAE has maintained, since its establishment in 1971, fraternal relationship based on honesty, frankness, transparency and observance of common interests of the countries.
Today, the world is experiencing a severe crisis due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and with the testimony of international organisations, the UAE is among the best countries in the world that have succeeded in fighting the epidemic. It is helping most of the countries confronted with this crisis.
Despite the clarity and goodwill on the part of the UAE, it has found the approach of certain nations unhelpful during this crisis.
Last week, about 25,000 Pakistani workers delivered an official request to the Pakistani consulate in Dubai, asking their government to arrange, as soon as possible, their return home because they became unemployed as a result of the stoppage of most of the contracting and maintenance industry, as well as medium and small businesses.
Till date the Pakistan government has not fulfilled the demands of its citizens and has not done anything significant for the return of thousands of Pakistanis to their home.
Similarly there are several Indian workers stranded in the UAE, who want to make this trip back home but their concerns have not been addressed.
The UAE has offered to fly stranded workers of the two countries to their respective home countries.
Sadly, the positions taken by the two countries has been unhelpful. This has prompted the UAE to consider restructuring its cooperation and labour relations with the countries that refuse to address the concerns of their citizens working in the private sector here.
The UAE’s options include imposing strict restrictions on the recruitment of workers from these countries and activating the “quota” system in recruitment operations.
This also includes suspending memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed between the ministry and concerned authorities in these countries”.
In summation, the coronavirus crisis has been a challenging time for all of us but it is only during difficult times that nations must cooperate and help each other.
The UAE has been at the forefront of maintain cordial relationship with all nations, including Asian powers like India and Pakistan.
It is time those nations realise the importance of these ties and do not indulge in delaying tactics. Countries must make plans and accept their own citizens who are stranded in the UAE at an earliest.