Several Indian Workers Stranded at Erbil in Iraq
The workers were duped by agents who took them to Dubai, and then sent them to Erbil on travel visa.
A number of workers from Telangana, who were on a visit visa to Gulf countries, are now stranded in Erbil, Iraq, after they were denied work permits.
Many workers have been stranded without employment, accommodation of their own, and food for as much as two years, the Hindu reported. Some of the workers landed last year, or even as recently as one month ago. Agents, who had taken Rs 2 lakh from each of them, took them to Dubai on a visit visa, and then sent them to Erbil on travel visa.
The employers they were sent to were making them work long hours without salary. “If we insist on salary they are threatening to send us to prison. If we want to come back they demand hefty penalties, which sometime run into Rs 6 lakh,” Ramchander, who is from Navipet, was quoted as saying in the report.
Ramesh, from Chepur, told the publication over phone from Erbil that he was cheated by the agent and was sleeping in either mosques or parks during nights. “My wife, children and parents are eagerly waiting for me to come back. I don’t want to be in Iraq any longer,” he said.
There are over 1,000 migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in Erbil. Youth from Chepur, Jakranpally, Velpur and Navipet have appealed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, IT Minister KT Rama Rao and Gulf Telangana Welfare Association (GTWA) president P Basanth Reddy to help them.
Their passports were taken by their employers as soon as they landed in the country, making them unable to leave.
GTWA president P Basanth Reddy said that he was informed by Deepak Miglani, the Indian Consul-General in Erbil, that the migrant workers can leave for India via Baghdad. “I can make arrangements for their return provided the central government initiates steps for which (External Affairs Minister) Sushma Swaraj needs to be consulted,” Miglani said, according to Reddy, the report added.
In November, as many as 60 workers from Telangana were brought back from Iraq to New Delhi.