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Iraq – Indian nurses eager to return to work despite growing tensions

20 June 2014

Despite reports that 46 Indian nurses are stranded in a hospital in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, currently under the control of ISIS insurgents, some Indian nurses are still eager to return to the country to work, reports The BBC.

One nurse, Sindhu, who was visiting family in India, is aware that the situation is grim in Iraq, particularly after news came in that 40 Indian construction workers had been kidnapped in the city of Mosul.

If she doesn't go back, however, she is worried about defaulting on "huge loans" that she has taken to finance her education and to pay a recruitment agent to find her a job in Iraq.

Sindhu paid INR 150,000 (USD 2,500) to her recruitment agency to find her a job in Iraq. In India she was able to earn INR 11,000 (USD 183) per month, while she currently earns USD 850 working at a hospital in Nasiriya, 225 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Nurses and other workers across Iraq from various countries also face the dilemma of weighing their personal security against the debt they have accrued finding work abroad. Some have appealed to their regional governments in India to waive their loans so they can return home. However, many overseas workers, unable to borrow money legitimately from banks, are forced to borrow from unofficial sources. They therefore have no official documentation and are unable to apply to the government for help. 

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