DILI, 24 june 2022 (TATOLI) – The Acting Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães said the Government of Timor-Leste would find a solution for the seven Timorese female workers who are currently suffering in Dubai due to poor treatment by their employers.
Seven Timorese female workers identified with the initials BS, ECdR, L, P, M, A, and A have suffered for more than two months in Dubai and cried for help.
“Regarding the situation facing these seven Timorese in Dubai, according to the information spread in the public saying that they departed for Dubai via illicit way and experience bad treatment at their workplace. It’s a matter that concerned the Government and the relevant authorities would find a solution for this problem,” Magalhães told reports at the Presidential Place, today.
He said the government’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of the Timorese citizens overseas.
“We need to ensure our citizens are protected overseas and safe from any illicit activities,” he said.
A day earlier, the President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta said he would discuss with the Government of Timor-Leste to repatriate these Timorese workers.
These seven Timorese female migrant workers departed for Dubai without signing any labor contract with the recruitment agency which they are currently working for. However, the documents of the workers had been kept by the employers since their arrival in Dubai. Meanwhile, keeping someone else’s passport is technically illegal in the UAE. These workers are not allowed to have their mobile phones with them, but some of them managed to hide their phones to keep in touch with their loved ones back home.
The seven Timorese workers work every day from 9 am to 9 pm and earn only 200 Dirham which equals US$54.
These workers are desperately crying for help and wanting to return home. However, their current employers demanded US$80.000 in compensation for the money it has spent on sending them to Dubai.
One of the workers who identified with the initial A explained that their rights were violated by the employers due to the worst condition and situations at their workplace.
“We have had enough suffering, and we want to go back home. We don’t have a labor contract and they keep our passport which means they don’t want us to leave Dubai. We keep hiding our mobile phones because if they know that we have them with us then they will definitely take them as well,” she said.
In addition, another worker who identified with the initial ECdR recounted that they were recruited by the Timorese Recruitment Agency known as Universal Institute Professional of Management (UIPM): “They promised us lots of good things. They told us that in Dubai, we can work while studying at the same time. But what we are experiencing right now is the opposite. Imagine, we live in the worst place compared to our home country. We can’t afford to buy food and drink ourselves with the US$54 monthly salary.”
Journalist: Filomeno Martins
Editor: Nelia Borges