Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

11 February 2014

Qatar: New standards for migrant workers just a starting point

Qatar: New standards for migrant workers just a starting point
All foreign workers in Qatar are still subject to a restrictive sponsorship system which facilitates abuse.

All foreign workers in Qatar are still subject to a restrictive sponsorship system which facilitates abuse.

© Shaival Dalal


At a Glance

Migrant workers in Qatar

  • There are some 1.35 million foreign nationals working in Qatar.
  • Migrant workers now make up some 94 per cent of the total workforce in the country.
  • 90% had their passports held by their employers
  • 56% did not have a government health card, essential to access public hospitals
  • 21% “sometimes, rarely or never” received their salary on time
  • 20% got a different salary than had been promised
  • 15% worked in a different job to the one promised

Source: Survey of 1,189 low-income workers in Qatar,carried out in 2012 by a study funded by the Qatar National Research Fund.

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.
Source: 
James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrants’ rights in the Gulf.
Date: 
Tue, 11/02/2014

 

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. 


Issue

Business And Human Rights 
Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants 

Country

Qatar 

Region

Middle East And North Africa 

@amnestyonline on twitter

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