‘We’re poor people’: Middle East’s migrant workers look for way home amid pandemic

Posted by on June 9, 2020 12:00 am
Categories: Global Stories

Gulf states prepare for demographic shift as migrant workforces return home, with prospects bleak for those who stay

During 14 years in Lebanon, Jevie Olido’s four children have grown up without her, her marriage has failed and her parents have grown old. Now, the income that kept her far from her home in the Philippines has also gone, rubbed out by the coronavirus crisis and an economic implosion that has forced thousands of desperate domestic workers like her to look for ways to leave.

In neighbouring Jordan, Samir Ali, an Indian garment worker, is also waiting to be paid, after only receiving his March salary when he and other foreign workers at their factory threatened to strike. The pandemic has crippled production across the country and caused clashes between labourers and employers. Eight of the 40 men had registered to go back to India once their contracts had finished. “We’ve decided this factory is really bad,” he said. “We’re poor people, so we have to find another way.”

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