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Indian migrant workers victims of economic downturn in Dubai

By Liz Neisloss, CNN
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Dubai woes force migrants home
  • Thousands of migrant workers to the United Arab Emirates have been laid off
  • More than 3.5 million Indians traveled to the middle east to work on large projects
  • Dubai is currently in the middle of a major financial crisis
  • Dubai
  • India
  • Economic Crisis

Meerut, India (CNN) -- Sajid was one of thousands of workers from India that traveled to Dubai for dreams of a better job and more money.

He was one of more than 3.5 million Indians that traveled to the United Arab Emirates to work on mega projects like the Burj Dubai -- the world's tallest tower.

All was well for several years, but the economic downturn hit the region hard and he was 'forced' to leave six months ago.

Sajid said that his pay began to trickle to a halt and that his employers advised him to go back to India for the Muslim festival of Eid.

He was told that his outstanding pay would be given to him in a lump sum on his return.

However, when Saijid returned home, he got a call saying that his work visa to the UAE was cancelled and that he no longer had a job.

Video: Downturn affecting Dubai's migrants

"These guys made me sign some papers which were in English," Sajid said.

"I assumed it was for my leave, but then on the day of Eid, I get a call saying my visa was cancelled because I had signed a resignation letter. That's how I found out it was not a leave letter these guys made me sign."

Sajid has five children to feed and is looking for work in his home town of Meerut in northern India, but the prospects don't look good.

In a city that was once dominated by agriculture, the fields are now empty.

Sajid's father Shahabuddine has even had to sell his land to help pay off his son's debts.

"He tells me a lot of people went from here and I saw that they could build houses, start businesses, so I felt that my son should do the same," Shahabuddine said.

"It seemed like people could earn a lot there, but the reality was not so."

However, if given the chance to go back, Sajid said that if things get better in Dubai that he would.