With COVID19 forcing the world into lockdown, Ensaniyat’s Fellowship has now opened to all youth residing in the Gulf Countries using online platforms to meet and connect. The 9th Cycle began and ended around to same time Gulf Countries were slowly lifting restrictions on movement and opening up public areas, sending people back to work and allowing for a bit of normality. For low-paid migrant workers, the opening up process was not celebrated the way it was by others. Many struggled greatly due to unpaid wages, illegal lay-offs, unsanitary accommodation due to poor living standards that lead to the easy spread of the virus and more. The 9th Cycle Fellows put together a timeline from March – August that explains how restrictions and policies effected low-paid migrant workers differently than they did others. For instance, many used teleworking and lockdowns as an opportunity to spend more time with family and entertaining themselves with hobbies they would usually not have time for. On the other hand, lockdowns for migrant workers meant being falsely accused of absconding (not reporting to work) due to their residential area being in complete lockdown. For domestic workers, it meant having to work round the clock catering to a whole family’s needs with little to no break.
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Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East