Four expatriates from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir have been living in Oman without a labour card for the past 14 months. They claim that they are finding it difficult to eke out a living after the company which brought them here in January 2011 refused to employ them from September that year. Till the period that they were employed, each of them was paid only RO150 for eight months of work.
Now, the four say they are forced to take up menial jobs to survive. “We spent RO1,500 each to come to Oman. We were hired as helpers and were offered a salary of RO100 each, accommodation and transport allowance not included,” said Aftab Hussain, one of the workers.
“We were employed from January to August 2011 and our employer paid each of us only RO15O for the eight months that we worked for him. Though we approached other companies for employment, our sponsor told them not to give us work.
“And since the government has tightened employment norms we are finding it very difficult to find jobs,” said Khurshid Ahmed, another worker.
“Of the medical check-ups we underwent, our sponsor paid for three. Despite the check-ups we don’t have residence cards. We have been requesting him to deport us if he does not want to employ us, but he has not been heeding to our request. He has also withheld our passports,” Muzaher Hussain said.
“He has been asking us to vacate the company accommodation in Bausher, but we have refused to move out. He has now disconnected water and power supply to our room,” Muzaher added.
“When we were hired, the company's name was Masdar Engineering. It has now been changed to Al Hinai Engineering. We also approached the labour court, but there has been no solution to our problem yet,” Khurshid Ahmed said.
According to the Indian Embassy’s social welfare department, the four had approached it regarding non-payment of salary. On July 9, 2011, the department directed them to file a complaint with the labour court.
Salim al Hinai, the sponsor, denied the allegations saying that these four workers did not show interest in their work and stopped working on their own. He said he was willing to give them tickets and salary to return to their country.