India’s Gulf workers in Covid-19 reverse migration chaos
This comes after Saudi and UAE mass deportations of migrant workers last year as part of controversial plans to curtail the spread of the virus.
While not a Gulf state, Jordan also pressured expats to leave the kingdom, temporarily waiving all exit fines in a bid to prioritise jobs for its own nationals.
The Indian state of Kerala has been hit particularly hard by these initiatives, given that it sends more workers - 2.5 million - to the Gulf than any other country, 40 percent of the total.
Figures show that over 1.1 million Gulf workers have returned home over the past 10 months.
Of these, 7 in 10 had been made unemployed from the construction, hospitality, and domestic service industries.
The toll on workers and their families has been catastrophic.
Shamna Khan, a disabled 30-year-old woman, previously did not have to work.
Her husband supported her with his relatively well-paid job in a Qatari shopping mall.
When he was laid off a year ago, however, Shamna had to take a government-backed position doing manual labour for 300 rupees per day.
"I am happy to work as I can support my family, but my leg is prone to infections," she told Reuters.
These accounts highlight the often-hidden plight of migrant workers across the Middle East, a crisis which coronavirus has significantly exacerbated.
When the pandemic hit, groups like Amnesty International revealed the shocking conditions labourers were quarantined in.