Part Two: Protecting the Wages of Migrant Construction Workers

Late or non-payment of wages is one of the major risks facing migrant construction workers in many parts of the world and is particularly prominent in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) where all countries face issues in prompt payment in the construction sector. It is an issue in urgent need of addressing as migrants often experience high debt due to recruitment or other migration-associated fees. And when they are not paid on time, both they and their families suffer as they are unable to send sufficient remittances home. To make matters worse, in the GCC specifically, there are few possibilities of redress for migrants which often leaves them destitute and vulnerable to exploitation.

In Part Two of ‘Protecting the Wages of Migrant Construction Workers’ EAP proposes innovative policies and actions which could offer a preventative solution to the issue affecting countless migrants in the region. The paper emphasises addressing the root cause of late payment in the construction supply chain – that of more flexible forms of employment and extensive sub-contracting and outsourcing. Consequently, migrant workers are now far removed from clients and principal contractors at the top of the supply chain and the responsibility for direct payment of workers has been passed onto those in the lower tiers who are in a weaker position to ensure it.

We look at innovative policies implemented around the world, how they can be applied in the region and what further actions can be taken by construction sector ‘Agents of Change’ to ensure prompt payment to workers.  We outline that these policies and actions could not only improve the lives of many migrants and their families but would ensure a more profitable and robust sector.

Part one in the series can be found here.