Qatar: New standards for migrant workers just a starting point

The Qatar 2022 workers’ welfare standards published today represent a positive, if partial, effort to prevent some of the worst abuses from taking place on World Cup projects, Amnesty International said. 

“While this may be a good starting point, the charter will only address the concerns of a relatively small proportion of migrant workers in Qatar; those involved in the construction of stadiums and training grounds,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrants’ rights in the Gulf.  

The standards will not apply to thousands of other migrant workers in Qatar including those who will build the wider infrastructure to support the hosting of the World Cup including roads, hotels and railways. 

“The reality is that all foreign workers across the country are still subject to the restrictive sponsorship system which facilitates abuse,” said James Lynch. 

“There are also serious questions relating to the implementation of these standards. In our experience enforcement is almost always the stumbling block. We need to know how the Supreme Committee will effectively address non-compliance by contractors and subcontractors.” 

“Ultimately, these standards alone will not be enough – we need to see real reform including to the sponsorship system, led by the government, for all of Qatar’s workers.”In November 2013, Amnesty International published a detailed report into the abuses against migrant construction workers in Qatar.