July 07, 2009

All For Nothing

Mohammad Iqbal, an Indonesian blogger living in Bahrain analyzes the plights of a Bangladeshi worker in Bahrain:
I recently met a Bangali who works for a hotel as a casual housekeeping attendant. He is actually Public Area attendant, one who takes care all public areas in a hotel, cleaning glass windows, or mopping floors of the lobby. He is not in charge for guest rooms. He does not make up rooms.

What’s not fair?

He spent BD1,500 to get working visa in Bahrain. He’s entitled 2 year permit. He’s paid BD10 a day, it means he earns BD240 a month. It’s pretty good pay? Wait..! He has to pay his flat, water, electricity, meal and of course sending money home.

Let’s calculate. For housing, he spends a sharing flat for let say BD50 a month. Then water and electricity will be additional BD10, and then meal for BD40 a month. Don’t forget, since he has a landlord or agent who arranged his employment, including job placement in different places, he has to pay for the agent fee at least BD25. So, total take home pay will be only BD115 a month.

In a year (12 month), he can safe BD1,380. This amount is still not enough to pay back the “visa” or “entrance fee” which is BD1,500. I have no idea whether this amount is legal or not, but one thing I really don't get is that within 2 years he can only safe BD1,260 net. As a conclusion, he spends 1,500 and sacrifices his two years working very hard for only BD1,260.

To extend another 2 years “working visa” he has to invest again BD1,000. This means, within 2 years, he gets only BD260 net to safe and I still have no clue how he pays for his flight ticket. I really don’t understand since it’s just not fair!
Its really hard to understand how the manpower agents lure these poor people into this nightmare and the governments ignore the truth.

Via Ayesha Saldanha, Global Voices.


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