Iraq’s Basra governorate has announced it will reconsider the status of foreign workers in the governorate within two weeks. Jabbar al-Hamdani, security advisor to the governor of Basra, said, "we received information confirming that a large number of illegal foreign workers live in the governorate."
"The relevant authorities will deport these workers and deem their entry illegal," he continued, adding that "there are workers who entered Iraq under the pretext that they wanted to visit religious sites." Hamdani said that they “stayed in the country to work in touristic areas so as not to be discovered."
The Investment Commission has set regulations limiting the recruitment of foreign laborers due to growing unemployment. For example, investors must determine how many laborers are needed for the project, as well as the proportion of foreign laborers needed. Moreover, the Commission takes into account this ratio as well as how accurate this assessment of need is before approving the investment. Furthermore, the foreign laborers must be technical experts who have experience that local Iraqis do not have.
Deputy Head of the Investment Commission Haidar Ali told Al-Hayat that "for the past two years, the Commission has not approved any investor to bring in foreign labor." He said that "90% of the foreign labor force in Iraq is available in the country. Iraq has unique personnel and expertise."
Lawyer Muntathar Abdul-Sattar, a member of the legal commission in the Basra governorate, said that Law 118 of 1978 is the law currently governing foreign residence, entry and departure visas and residence documents. However, this law makes no stipulations on foreign labor.
He added, "According to the law, in order for foreigners to enter and exit Iraq, they must carry a passport and a visa. Moreover, they must enter the country through one of the border crossings mentioned in the Passports Act."
Some employers seek foreign labor from India and Bangladesh because these workers accept much lower wages than do Iraqis.