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Amazon repays $1.9 million to workers in Saudi Arabia over illegal recruitment fees

1 min

The American online retail giant Amazon announced on Friday that it has reimbursed $1.9 million to over 700 contract workers in Saudi Arabia who were subjected to illegal recruitment fees and other abuses.

Amnesty International had based its findings on testimonies from 22 Nepali workers © Mena Today 

The American online retail giant Amazon announced on Friday that it has reimbursed $1.9 million to over 700 contract workers in Saudi Arabia who were subjected to illegal recruitment fees and other abuses.

Human rights organization Amnesty International had denounced the conditions faced by migrants employed by third-party companies to work in Amazon warehouses in the Gulf kingdom back in October, prompting the multinational corporation to launch an investigation.

"We found cases where contract workers were forced to pay fees, including recruitment fees and other costs, by Saudi recruitment agents or labor supply companies," the company said in a statement, claiming to have "paid $1.9 million in reimbursement" to over 700 of them.

The investigation also uncovered other violations of the company's policies, including "substandard living conditions, irregularities in contracts and salaries, and delays in resolving worker complaints," according to Amazon, which says it has enforced improvements with its suppliers.

Amnesty International had based its findings on testimonies from 22 Nepali workers who had worked in Amazon warehouses in Saudi Arabia between 2021 and 2023.

Believing they were directly hired by the American company, some had incurred heavy debts to pay the fees imposed by recruiters, only to find themselves "deprived of their earnings, housed in appalling conditions, and prevented from finding other employment or leaving the country."

Following the report's publication, Saudi authorities had indicated that these "alarming facts (...) were already under investigation."

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