Thousands Of Pakistanis In UAE Fired From Jobs Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
Data from the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai has revealed that over 10,000 Pakistani nationals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have lost their jobs from economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
These Pakistani national are desperate to return home due to the countrywide lock down imposed in United Arab Emirates which has led to financial losses and they are unable to make both ends meet.
The consulate has issued a Whatsapp number for Pakistanis on which Naya Daur approached the consulate to collect data.
Consulate General of Pakistan to Dubai informed that based on the data collected over the past few months from those who registered to travel back to Pakistan amid the COVID-19 concerns, as many as ten thousand Pakistan nationals have been laid off from jobs and lost businesses.
The consulate has issued a pro forma for over seas Pakistanis in UAE to know about their reason for going back to Pakistan as all international flights had been cancelled.
“It had been asked from the citizens to mention reason why they should be given preference to travel back to Pakistan when special flights were arranged. More than 10,000 of those who registered claimed that because they had lost their jobs so far the reason they want to leave UAE.
“Some of them may be going on unpaid leaves, but we are still trying to assess to collect more data also,” he added.
Almost 30,000 people have registered with the consulate since it asked Pakistani nationals to enlist themselves from April 3 till date if they desired to travel back to their country.
The UAE is home to 1.2 million Pakistanis out of which over 400,000 are based in Dubai alone. Pakistanis collectively comprise around 13 percent of Dubai’s population and are the third largest ethnic group in the emirate (after the Indians and the Emiratis).
Most Pakistanis dominate the transport sector: Some of them provide logistical services while others are crane operators or taxi drivers. Due to the current shut down and steps taken by the UAE government to contain the spread of the virus, many of these sectors have been affected to such an extent that the staff have either been laid off, sent on unpaid leave or asked to take salary cuts.
“A majority of Pakistanis here work in the construction, transport and security services sectors. Others drive taxis, too. So it is likely that those facing employment issues may belong to these sectors,” said the consulate.
Pakistani nationals also informed that they are working on up to 70 percent salary cuts in hotel sector. The hotels in UAE have told them to either leave or work on basic salary cuts due to decrease in the hotels’ own profit amid the lockdown.
Iqbal Asif who is security manager at a three star hotel in Dubai marina told Naya Daur that he belong to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan and has been working in hotel security sector for the past nine years. “But never before have I seen a situation like this where such huge salary cuts have been imposed. We not only have to support ourselves but also send money to our dependents back home”, he said.
Iqbal Asif further said that they were told by the management to work on salary cuts till June, but if the situation persists then they will shut down the hotel. Iqbal added that a few hotels have fired all their staff before shutting down the hotels for six months.
Electric engineer Umair Alam, who has been in the UAE since 2016, told Naya Daur that he had not received any salary for the past four months. “At this point I have registered for ration only because I have been out of work for the past four months,” he said, adding that his future in the country will be decided once things acquire normalcy.
Irfanullah, a 39-year-old from Gujrat, Pakistan, said he had lost his job as a driver and wished to go back home. “I am a heart patient and I don’t have a job. I’m stuck here without any help,” he said.
Nadeem Khan who worked in vehicle maintenance company told Naya Daur that after the lockdown, their work was severely been affected. Nadem who is from KP province added that I won three crawn vehicle who left cars which get out of order on roads but due to lock down their ard no vehicles on roads so we are waiting in Deras with out wages.
Many Pakistanis have been kept in site camps of construction companies after they were fired and their visas cancelled. The situation of Pakistani workers who lost jobs in UAE are miserable and they are passing through a very difficult time for which the government of Pakistan need come out from comfort zone.
Giving data for the last year, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development said that as many as 176,947 Pakistani workers came to the UAE on employment visas during the first 10 months of 2019, which constituted an increase of 1.7 percent.