Founded in 2007, Migrant-Rights.org is a GCC-based advocacy organization that aims to advance the rights of migrant workers. Through our online platform, on-ground projects, and grassroots initiatives, we work to document migrant narratives, ignite local discussion, and encourage change in attitudes and practices towards migrant workers.
Migrant workers comprise nearly 50% the GCC-population, and nearly 90% of the workforce in some countries. They are employed in every sector and in every position, but the majority are low-income migrants employed in construction, agriculture, and domestic work.
Laws that govern the employment and residency of migrant workers often leave them vulnerable to exploitation, either because the law does not exist, is weak, or is not enforced. Though many GCC countries have legislated reforms to the sponsorship system, the labour law, and regulations affecting domestic workers, compliance remains a significant issue. Lack of access to justice also presents a significant issue.
Late or nonpayment of wages, long working hours, unsafe working conditions, and restrictions on mobility are just a few common examples of the issues that workers endure. Many of these abuses tie back to the sponsorship system and to the inordinate power that sponsors have over their employees. The difficulties most workers face in changing employers renders them vulnerable to a sliding scale of exploitation that ranges from delayed wages to modern day slavery.
Migrants are the drivers of our development. To a significant extent, neither homes nor businesses can function without their services. And beyond their valuable economic contributions, they are integral members of our society. Yet, they are undervalued, ignored, exploited and denied their most basic human rights.
To encourage social action to change our region’s exploitative status quo and raise awareness by:
Exposing Abuse and Changing the Narrative
Migrants face systematic exploitation, yet local media often amplifies the victimisation of GCC citizens – migrants are scapegoated for crimes, public health issues, and unemployment. These negative attitudes are common in popular discourse and are exacerbated by a lack of information on the issue.
Through evidence-based articles, analyses of laws, op-eds, data-collection and interactive pieces, we shed light on the issues workers face under the kafala (sponsorship) and disempowering legal systems. Our reporting highlights common issues workers face with recruitment agents, sponsors, and the government institutions they encounter. Our hope is to amplify the narratives and experiences of migrant workers, from recruitment in their countries, to their employment in the Gulf, and to their return home.
Our abuse map helps residents see just how common – and close to home – these abuses are.
We campaign to reform unfair and discriminatory employment and residency laws, and to extend protections to all migrant workers and their families. Our close analysis of policies and proposed reforms are informed by our original research, interviews with workers, employers, and recruiters.
Our offline projects, Bridges and Ensaniyat, works with GCC-based companies, employers, and students and recruiters to improve employment conditions for migrant workers and improve understanding between all parties.
Migrant-Rights.org is an inclusive platform for migrants, citizens, CSOs, journalists, lawyers, private companies and public entities. We invite you to join our network!
Migrant-Rights.org is supported by institutional grants and individual donations.