A groom in Saudi Arabia was forced to attend his own marriage ceremony on the internet with his bride in India after he failed to get time off from his job.
A man only identified as Harris, who hails from the Indian state of Kerala, reportedly works as a marketing manager with a private company in Riyadh.
Since he was unable to get leave from work, he eventually exchanged his wedding vows online while Harris’s sister, Najitha, tied the traditional nuptial knot to his bride, Shamla, according to local Indian media.
“The Middle East is known to have a lot of people from Kerala working there,” Indian Express reported. “But since the locals there are now favored more in terms of employment, the NRIs [non-resident Indians] get leaves with a lot of difficulties, and they choose to go to work because of the fear of losing their jobs.”
While Harris’ problematic situation ended on a relatively happy note, not all migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are that lucky.
Emotional, physical and sexual exploitation of migrant workers and domestic help hailing from developing countries such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia at the hands of wealthy Saudi employers is a well-documented issue.
“Saudi Arabia has attracted more low-paid Indian migrants over the last 25 years than any other country in the Gulf region. Every day, close to 1,000 Indian low-wage migrant workers are provided with emigration clearances to travel to Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty International stated in a 2014 report.
“Migrant workers reported working regularly for between 15 to 18 hours a day, without a day off, and without being compensated for overtime. Some were subjected to threats and beatings by their employers, had their passports and residency permits confiscated and were denied exit permits to return home.”