We have done them a severe injustice
It is no secret that our migrant workers have faced some of the worst treatment, with thousands of horror stories of abuse and neglect on foreign shores.
This has gone on despite the fact that the remittances they send back home are one of the primary driving forces behind the economy and, in this regard, there is no doubt that we have not provided them with the protection or dignity they deserve -- in fact, we have done them a severe injustice.
A major cause has been the thousands of middlemen who operate across the nation for people seeking work abroad, and end up giving them the wrong information or taking advantage of citizens’ desperation.
To counter this, the government’s new initiative is rather encouraging, which seeks to bring all middlemen under the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.
This will go a long way towards enforcing regulatory standards to the process and ensuring that those seeking work are not taken advantage of and remain safe in the hands of trustworthy agents.
There will be several steps in the process to ensure that this is the case, such as that payments will only be carried out through banks and the presence of a ministry official who will double-check the existence of relevant documents.
This is a commendable initiative since middlemen, though not always ideal, are necessary for people from rural areas to have access to information and begin the migration process.
However, this will not be easy, as this is a significant undertaking and the relevant authorities will have to ensure that enough resources are assigned for the completion of the project.
But, if successful, this can be the first step towards ensuring that migrant worker abuse becomes a thing of the past.