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Growing number of migrant workers in Iraq

On November 8, 2009

The National Newspaper (UAE) carried a story today about Asian migrant workers who are coming to Iraq and taking jobs from the locals. The number of migrant workers in the country has increased in the past months, the report suggests. The focus of the article is on the Iraqis who are loosing their jobs, but it still included several passages about the conditions these workers are living in.

The workers usually enter the country with tourist visas, and they stay undocumented, afraid of leaving their employer's residence and being deported. Those workers are willing to accept pay twice or even three times less than that of Iraqis (from $100-$200 per month). The Iraqi Labor Ministry maintains that no work permits were given to migrant workers, which means that the workers employed in the country are doing it illegally, and thus, they enjoy no protection from the State. According to Ihsan al-Dhani, who runs a Baghdad-based agency bringing in Asian workers, Iraqi employers prefer Asian workers over locals because they are cheap and work hard. He plans on bringing 5,000 more Asian workers over the coming months into Iraq, and he hopes to recruit more if the security situation improves in the future. Al-Dhani claims that there have been no attempts by the government to shut down his business.