“Shattered Dreams“: Migrant Workers in the Hotel Sector in Dubai

Hard work, withheld passports and twelve hour working days without breaks or overtime pay – this is the reality for migrants working at hotels in Dubai, according to a report by the Swedish organisations Swedwatch and Fair Action. The findings, derived from interviews in three selected hotels and published in the report ”Shattered Dreams”, revealed numerous violations of human and labour rights. In two hotels, workers stated that they had paid recruitment fees to get jobs – a practice which is illegal in Dubai, but such fees are often charged by agents in their home countries. Two Africans have been lured with false promises and false documents. Because of the “kafala” system, according to which every migrant worker needs a local sponsor, foreigners find it difficult, if not impossible, to change employers in Dubai.

Swedwatch und Fair Action recommend standardised procedures for tour operators to identify and prevent negative impacts their business might have. Tour operators must make sure that the hotels they work with observe local legislation on issues like working hours and recruitment fees, and that they do not withhold the passports of migrant workers.

Shattered dreams. Migrant workers and rights violations in the Dubai tourism sector. Von Olof Björnsson. Hg. Swedwatch/Fair Action, 2015. Download: www.swedwatch.org/sites/default/files/tmp/75_dubai_lowres_new.pdf

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