DUBAI - Hundreds of workers remain stranded in Dubai for nearly four weeks after the owner of their company absconded to India owing them five months salary.
The Indian businessman, Joseph D'Souza, fled last month after his businesses failed.
He founded a steel fabrication and engineering firm that called itself Systems Engineering, with offices in Sharjah and Dubai, in 1997, and employed 400 men from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as helpers, welders and steel fixers.
The situation has left many deeply concerned about their future. One labourer suffered a nervous breakdown after the company went under. Laila Abubakr, a social worker from the Overseas Resident Malayalee Association in Dubai, said that the man is now in a stable condition.
Mrs Abubakr said only 200 of the 400 workers had been repatriated.
"Consulates representing workers' countries are giving free tickets for the men to be sent home," she added. "We hope in a week or two all the workers will be home."
Mrs Abubakr said each employee might receive up to AED1,600 from the bank guarantee deposited by Mr D'Souza. "It is a little amount compared to what each worker was supposed to get. The bank amount is being equally divided among all the men," she said.