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World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023: Challenges Faced by Indian Diaspora Members at Work

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The Indian diaspora, comprising approximately 18 million individuals, is one of the largest migrant communities in the world. It has a significant presence in several countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Gulf countries, and Australia. While many members of the Indian diaspora are employed in high-skilled professions, such as information technology, finance, and medicine, a substantial number work in lower-skilled and manual labour jobs.
The safety of Indian diaspora members at work is an issue of great concern. In recent years, there have been several incidents of violence, discrimination, and exploitation faced by Indian workers in different countries. This article will explore the safety of Indian diaspora members at work in different countries and discuss the steps taken to address the issue.

Safety of Indian Diaspora at Work in Different Countries

United States

The United States is home to a large Indian diaspora community, with over 4 million Indian Americans residing in the country. Indian Americans are among the most educated and affluent ethnic groups in the United States, with many working in high-skilled professions. However, Indian Americans have also faced incidents of hate crimes and discrimination at work.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of hate crimes against Indian Americans in the United States. In 2017, a white supremacist shot and killed an Indian engineer in Kansas, while in 2019, an Indian American woman was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City. These incidents have raised concerns about the safety of Indian Americans at work and in public spaces.
Moreover, Indian Americans have also reported facing discrimination in the workplace. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2016 found that 27% of Indian Americans reported experiencing discrimination at work. The discrimination ranged from being paid less than their white colleagues to being passed over for promotion.
To address these issues, several advocacy groups, such as the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), have been working to raise awareness about the discrimination faced by Indian Americans in the United States. SAALT has been advocating for policies that promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has been working with policymakers to address hate crimes and discrimination.

Canada

Canada is another country with a significant Indian diaspora community, with over 1.4 million individuals of Indian origin residing in the country. Indian Canadians are well-represented in several industries, including information technology, finance, and healthcare. However, they have also faced incidents of racism and discrimination at work.
In 2020, a study conducted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation found that almost half of South Asian Canadians reported experiencing racism in the workplace. The racism ranged from being denied a promotion to being subjected to racial slurs and insults. The study also found that South Asian Canadians were more likely to face discrimination than other minority groups in Canada.
To address these issues, several organizations, including the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, have been working to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These organizations have been advocating for policies that address discrimination and hate crimes and have been working with employers to create more inclusive workplaces.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is home to over 1.4 million individuals of Indian origin, making it one of the largest Indian diaspora communities in Europe. Indian Britons are well-represented in several industries, including finance, healthcare, and information technology. However, they have also faced incidents of racism and discrimination at work.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of hate crimes against Indian Britons. A report published by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2018 found that there had been a 17% increase in hate crimes against South Asians in the United Kingdom. The report also found that the majority of these crimes were motivated by race.
To address these issues, several organizations, including the South Asian Heritage Month and the Hindu Council UK, have been working to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These organizations have been advocating for policies that address discrimination and hate crimes and have been working with employers to create more inclusive workplaces.

Gulf Countries

The Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, are home to a large number of Indian diaspora members who work in industries such as construction, hospitality, and healthcare. While these countries offer employment opportunities for Indian workers, they have also faced several incidents of exploitation and abuse.
In recent years, there have been several reports of Indian workers being subjected to poor working conditions, low wages, and physical and sexual abuse in the Gulf countries. The Kafala system, which ties workers to their employers and limits their ability to change jobs, has also been criticized for promoting exploitation and abuse.
To address these issues, the Indian government has been working with the governments of the Gulf countries to improve the working conditions of Indian workers. In 2018, India signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to protect the rights of Indian workers in the country. The agreement includes provisions for minimum wages, better working conditions, and the protection of workers from abuse.

Australia

Australia is home to a growing Indian diaspora community, with over 700,000 individuals of Indian origin residing in the country. Indian Australians are well-represented in several industries, including information technology, finance, and healthcare. However, they have also faced incidents of racism and discrimination at work.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of hate crimes against Indian Australians. In 2019, a study conducted by the University of New South Wales found that Indian Australians were more likely to experience racism and discrimination at work than other minority groups in the country.
To address these issues, several organizations, including the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW, have been working to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These organizations have been advocating for policies that address discrimination and hate crimes and have been working with employers to create more inclusive workplaces.

Conclusion

The safety of Indian diaspora members at work is an issue of great concern. While Indian diaspora members have contributed significantly to the economies of different countries, they have also faced incidents of racism, discrimination, and exploitation. Several organizations and advocacy groups have been working to address these issues and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, more needs to be done to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian diaspora members at work. Governments and employers must work together to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces that respect the rights and dignity of all workers, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality.
Hency Thacker can be reached at hency@thecsrjournal.in