Minimum wage fixed for Indian domestic workers in Oman

June 1st, 2008 - 1:22 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, June 1 (IANS) India has fixed the minimum wage for Indian domestic workers in Oman at 75 Omani riyals ($195) per month, effective from Sunday. “The Embassy of India in Muscat, Oman, has, under the instructions of the Government of India, decided to raise the wages of Indian house maids coming to the Sultanate from the existing RO50 ($130) per month to RO75 per month with effect from June 1, 2008,” the Indian embassy said in statement.

India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa said in the statement that this was necessitated by inflation and rising cost of living worldwide, particularly in Oman, as the wages of Indian household workers have remained static for over 15 years.

Other countries supplying household workers in Oman are the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Tanzania and Bangladesh.

The embassy also stated that during 2007, it registered 7,797 labour contracts of household workers from India and helped in repatriating home 65 household workers who were facing problems.

According to Wadhwa, the embassy was also taking several steps for the welfare of Indian household workers in that Gulf nation.

These include making prior attestation of labour agreement by the embassy mandatory to allow household workers to leave India, orientation programme for household workers prior to their leaving India, contractual binding for the sponsor to provide a pre-paid mobile phone to the household worker on arrival, the sponsor allowing the household worker to report to the embassy within four weeks of his/her arrival in Oman, free legal and assistance for any household worker who is ill-treated, and the embassy paying for the medical treatment and airfare in deserving cases.

This apart, the embassy, in collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Manpower, has prepared flyers in six languages, including four Indian regional languages, containing ‘dos and don’ts’ for Indian household workers in Oman.

These have been placed at all immigration counters and in commercial aircraft, which are normally used by Indian household workers coming to Oman.

According to the statement, apart from the helpline number (8007 7000) operated round-the-clock by the Omani manpower ministry, the Indian mission also has a round-the-clock helpline number (2469 8491) that any aggrieved Indian household worker can call and record his/her complaint.

The embassy has also clarified that it was not going to introduce the system of demanding a bank guarantee of $2,500 from individual employers, which was a possible requirement of India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

“This is in view of the comparatively better relationship between Oman and India, though some Indian embassies in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries have already implemented this requirement,” the statement said.

At the request of the embassy, the Oman government agreed in November last year to allow more Indians, who had been over-staying their visa in Oman, to go back to India without payment of any fines but subject to the normal checking of their antecedents.

The embassy started to register such Indians desirous to go home.

“Two lists - one containing 5,541 names of people having come on employment visa and the other containing 2,603 names of the people having come on visit visa - have been prepared and submitted to the Government of the Sultanate,” the embassy statement said.

The ambassador announced that the processing of such cases by Omani authorities was going to start some time early this month with the publication of lists of such persons in newspapers whose cases have been prima-facie cleared.

The embassy statement also said that an Indian delegation would be coming to the country June 28-29 to continue discussions on a bilateral welfare pact.

In 2007, the embassy stated, it issued 41,637 passports and 22,671 visas while the figures for the first five months of the current year were 18,133 and 12,221, respectively.

Oman is home to around 500,000 Indians.

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