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Associate Editor and Director of Projects Vani Saraswathi discusses the condition of foreign domestic workers amid the Covid19 crisis with the Institute of Human Rights and Business (podcast). 

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According to a new order in the UAE, all residents with entry or residency permits that expired before 1 March  2020, will be exempted from paying fines if they leave the country after 18 May 2020. The order is valid for a period of three months. 

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced that it has started implementing the 15th phase of the Wage Protection System (WPS). As of 1 May 2020, companies with 11 or more workers are now obligated to register with WPS.

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has enacted a new regulation on 3 May which allows employers to unilaterally cut workers hours and wages during the next six months.

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Kuwait’s one-month amnesty came to an end on 30 April and was availed by about 30,000 irregular workers. However, many migrants are still stranded in government facilities due to travel restrictions placed by origin countries.

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Bahraini Parliament vote for the deportation of irregular migrant workers.

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In Bahrain, low-income migrant workers who are forcefully quarantined in cramped labour accommodations are left reliant on civil society organisations for food and basic necessities.

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Bahrain extends the validity of visit visas for expatriates automatically and free of charge for three months.

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Several areas in Kuwait are under lockdown, leaving many migrants without access to food. Government SMS messages that are sent several times a day tell people about places where they can pick up goods,  but seem to lead nowhere.

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In light of the arrest of 7 individuals accused of helping domestic workers escape their employers, Qatari officials should look into why workers seek to leave their employer’s households, including the conditions that push them to take such risky decisions.

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Bahrain’s Ministry of Labour has issued a circular for employers and workers in the private sector regarding combating the spread of COVID-19 at workplaces and labour camps in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases among migrants.

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Bahrain announced plans to relocate migrants in high-density areas to public facilities, such as schools and youth centres, to achieve social distancing.

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Many domestic workers in Kuwait are leaving their employer’s homes due to unbearable workloads. The government shelter is reportedly refusing to receive them because they have not been reported as “absconding” (a runaway).

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Bahrain announces amnesty for irregular migrants from now through December 31, 2020 and cuts in Flexi-Permit fees.

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Over 800 workers, including around 60 women, employed or recruited by Sea Bird Supermarket have been left stranded for more than a month in Dubai. All of them have paid between AED1000 and AED3000 in hefty recruitment fees to their employer.

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Construction work continues across the GCC, despite concerns about community transmission.

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