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MediaWatch:Print
IN THE PAPERS
Illegal Indian Laborers Working in Baghdad
Indian Media Reports Inskilled Laborers Sidestep Visa Rules for Iraq Jobs
By DAVID PHINNEY 08/02/2007 7:21 PM ET
More than a hundred Indian laborers are working "illegally" on the $592-million US embassy compound project in Iraq, according to a returning worker interviewed by The Asian Age.

That is a small portion of the 40,000 workers from India who are employed by American and Iraqi forces in Iraq, the newspaper speculates, but most could be there only by circumventing visa requirements. The Indian government has imposed restrictions on unskilled laborers leaving for Iraq, so many have adopted an illegal roundabout route, entering Iraq through other Gulf countries without proper visas.

They are mainly engaged on work in military bunkers, supplying food to soldiers and other menial jobs. A hundred of them have reportedly been drafted to work on the US embassy building site.

Why are they there? Largely because work in Iraq pays well: Ramana Reddy from Malial mandal in Karimnagar returned after working at the US embassy site for some time."It is hard work since they are constructing a 21-building complex," he said. "Also, we never know what will happen the next moment in Baghdad. But we risk everything for the big pay."

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