KT Impact: 49 duped workers found living in one apartment in UAE land new jobs
More than 20 companies came forward to offer support to the distressed workers.
On April 21, Khaleej Times reported the plight of 64 labourers from India, who were found cramped in a one-bedroom apartment after they were cheated by an agent.
Now, 49 of them have secured jobs after more than 20 companies came forward to offer support to the distressed workers. The others have returned to their home country.
After the story was published, Khaleej Times was inundated with emails from concerned individuals, as well as companies, who wanted to help the workers by offering them jobs.
Swinging into action, KT connected the companies with the two social workers handling the case — Shirali Shaikh Muzaffer and Hidayath Addoor — who then facilitated the process of sending the workers' CVs to the companies and guiding them on what provisions were required by the workers.
Interviews for the unemployed were held at Fortune Plaza hotel, owned by Karnataka NRI president and businessman Praveen Kumar Shetty, who volunteered the hotel premises as the site where interviews for the distressed workers could be held.
“Most of these workers were skilled carpenters and AC technicians from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi," Muzaffer told Khaleej Times. "After the report got published in KT, a number of companies that had requirements for such skilled labour were happy to help and conducted interviews to absorb the ones whose skills were commensurate with that of the company requirement.
"Most of the workers got absorbed as carpenters, masons, installers and helpers and their visa is now under process," Muzaffer said. "They have also been given clean and comfortable company accommodation and their meals are being taken care of by the companies.”
Expressing thanks to KT, social worker Addoor noted: “The news report came as a beacon of hope for hundreds of other workers who were being duped by agents and were in a similar situation of distress. Apart from the 64 workers, we received almost 80 more CVs from both blue-collar and white-collar workers who are in need of jobs. We are glad that the 23 companies that came forward to help distressed workers are looking to accommodate as many distressed job seekers as they can.”
Coming forward as an individual support philanthropist businessman Yusuf Bermaver arranged food for labourers.
One of the workers who secured a job after the KT report, Mohammed Moinuddin, said he and several others like him were deeply indebted to Khaleej Times and social workers Muzaffer and Addoor for helping them secure jobs.
“We felt so lost and helpless until these social workers approached us and guided us out of this mess the fraudulent agents got us into. This incident has renewed our faith in media and humanity, and we are glad there are still people who care for poor people like us," he said.
"By connecting us to the companies and helping us get jobs, KT and these social workers have not only provided for us, but have taken care of several families that are struggling to make ends meet in our home country.”
Another worker Sandeep Sharma, who wanted to return home and was repatriated by the help of the social workers and the Indian Consulate in Dubai, said: “I am so relieved and happy to be reunited with my family in India. For me, these social workers were godsends, as they went out of their way to help us get our passports back and arranged our documents to ease our repatriation process."
Sandeep also joined the social workers in offering a "big thanks" to the Indian consulate for arranging their tickets. "I will never forget the compassion shown by the people and authorities of the UAE for helping me return to my home country,” he said.
How it all happened
The workers arrived in the UAE this year in March and their ordeal began soon after landing in the UAE, as they were crammed into a one-bedroom apartment by an agent who had confiscated their passports.
The men, who arrived on visit visas from various parts of India, stated that they'd been duped by a group of agents from Uttar Pradesh. Each of them had paid Rs150,000 (Dh7,500) after being told they would be employed as blue-collar workers in the UAE. The jobs never came.
They were given food once, with each getting a piece of chapati and tea. But later on, the agents reportedly told them they should start fending for themselves, the workers told Muzaffer.
After finding some of the workers sitting on a roadside in Sharjah in tears, Muzaffer took down all their details and contacted a philanthropist from Abu Dhabi who arranged for food supplies and other necessities for the group.
Muzaffer — along with Addoor and Shetty — reported the group’s ordeal to officials of the Consulate-General of India. The mission swung into action and began gathering the workers’ papers.
The consulate managed to contact the agents who brought the workers to the UAE — and ordered them to resolve the matter as soon as possible. The mission also instructed the chairman of the consultancy to return the men’s passports and arrange for the air tickets and Covid tests of those who wished to fly back home to India.
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