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Essential yet Invisible: Migrant Domestic Workers in the GCC

  • Bina Fernandez
Publisher: Gulf Research Center
Date of Publication: Jun 2014
Publications Categories: Research Papers & Analysis


This paper presents an overview of the labour market for migrant domestic workers in the Gulf Co-operation (GCC) countries. It discusses how current recruitment practices and working conditions contribute to the vulnerability of these workers to exploitation and abuse. The paper shows that although international conventions of the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation could provide frameworks for improved national legislation to protect the rights of domestic workers, GCC countries appear reluctant to ratify or implement conventions specific to migrant workers or domestic workers. Public pressure has led to alternative national legislation in some GCC countries, which is an improvement from a situation of limited or no legislative protection for MDWs; however there are several gaps that render this legislation weak. The paper concludes with policy recommendations to ensure more robust protection is extended to MDWs in the GCC.

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