Indian labourers hired with temporary contracts in the UAE have dramatically improved the living conditions of their families residing in India, a study conducted by the Centre for Global Development in the US has found.
The study, published by Al’amal magazine of the Ministry of Labour, and carried out by Dr Michael Clemens, a senior fellow and director of research at the centre, targeted Indian labourers residing and working within the UAE. His study was supported by the Ministry of Labour to reach those labourers and measure the positive effect they have had on the situation of their families in India.
It was a comparison study of 3,000 families, comparing 1,500 Indian families who had one family member working in the UAE in the construction sector before the global financial crisis of 2008; and another 1,500 families who did not have a family member working in the UAE.
The research was conducted by 86 researchers using six local dialects to communicate with the targeted families living in 10 different states in India. Researchers acquired basic information from the Ministry of Labour to analyse records on wages earned by those labourers who had traveled to work in the UAE.
The study showed that Indian workers employed in the UAE earned two-and-a-half times more than their counterparts in their home country.
The study pointed out that the presence of a family member in the UAE has provided a large amount of accurate information about the terms and conditions of employment in the country, which improved the access of Indians to UAE’s labour market, and contributed at the same time to rationalising the level of profit and income expectations. Indians moving to work in the UAE have contributed to the reduction of poverty, obtained hundreds of thousands of jobs, and provided Indian families with billions of dollars. The average monthly earnings have risen by approximately 250 to 300 percent.
The study suggests that the list of benefits also include the increased likelihood of worker’s family to own a commercial project by 30 percent compared to families with no members working abroad.
The study also found that the families of UAE-based workers 'work doubly hard' to supplement their income.
The study debunks the allegations levelled by research organisations suggesting that labourers here are subjected to exploitation due to illiteracy, putting them in situations that exceed their ability to repay their debts.
The study confirmed that the UAE has sought since early stages of its development to provide protection measures for the rights of labourers, according to the highest international standards, based on its desire to comply with legislation and national laws and international agreements, setting strict standards for housing conditions and requirements alongside required facilities such as hygienic bathing facilities, kitchens and medical clinics.
The UAE’s efforts are also focused on ensuring occupational health and safety measures through providing requirements such as protective helmets, ambulances, treatments, safety instructions in various languages and gas masks in industries that produce harmful fumes. The UAE’s decision to prohibit work during the hottest daytime hours during the summer is a case in point.
The UAE posts tough penalties on companies that do not pay wages on time. The country also developed a special system to insure wage protection, known as WPS, and put in place sophisticated systems to settle labour disputes.