DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Long a lifeline for families back home, migrant workers in oil-rich Gulf Arab states now find themselves trapped by the coronavirus pandemic, losing jobs, running out of money and desperate to return to their home countries as COVID-19 stalks their labor camps. Whether on the island of Bahrain, hidden in the industrial neighborhoods behind Dubai’s skyscrapers or in landlocked cities of Saudi Arabia, a growing number of workers have contracted the virus or been forced into mass quarantines. Many have been put on unpaid leave or fired. The United Arab Emirates is even threatening the laborers’ home countries that won’t take them back with possible quotas on workers in the future — something that would endanger a crucial source of remittances for South Asian countries. Workers like Hunzullah Khaliqnoor, an IT manager from Peshawar, Pakistan, who shares a room in Dubai with his two brothers, just wants to escape. Khaliqnoor said he has been pleading daily with the Pakistani Consulate to fly him and one of his brothers out. “Our job is gone and we need to move.” It’s a cruel fate for the millions of mostly South Asian migrants who left their homes. They’ve


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