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Iraqis blame foreign workers for worsening unemployment

Workers clean the wreckage of a terrorist car bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 March 2017 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu]
Iraqi workers in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 March 2017 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu]

Expatriate workers who accept low wages and are willing to work long hours are exacerbating the Iraq’s unemployment problem, locals have said.

Hussein Jassim, an Iraqi worker who left his job in a commercial centre because his employer refused to raise his salary, said: “Business owners prefer to hire foreigners because they accept low wages and work for long hours .”

“Many workers do not earn enough, from $10 to $12 a day, which is not enough to support the needs of any Iraqi family,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Alaa Hamid, a graduate of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Baghdad who works in a restaurant, said: “Foreign workers compete with Iraqis in all occupations and businesses, which has exacerbated the problem of unemployment because shop owners prefer to hire them over Iraqis.”

“I recently quit my work because the salary was too low and the working hours were too long, so the restaurant owner hired two Bangladeshi workers to replace me and my other colleagues who have also left work after the restaurant owner refused to raise their salaries,” Hamid said.

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Business owner, Khalid Al-Muieni, said companies prefer to hire Bangladeshi workers because Iraqi employees cause many problems, always demand an increase in their wages and are not disciplined at work.

Unemployment amongst Iraq’s youth has reached 40 per cent, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while 85 per cent of women are not employed.

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