Middle East

Improving migrant workers’ lives in Qatar | Letter

Your report (‘We have fallen into a trap’: Qatar’s World Cup dream is a nightmare for hotel staff, 18 November) fails to acknowledge the progress Qatar has made to improve living and working standards for foreign workers, including those in the hospitality sector.

The impact of Qatar’s reforms is best highlighted through its numbers: over 240,000 workers have successfully changed jobs since barriers were removed in September 2020; more than 400,000 have directly benefited from the new minimum wage; improvements to the wage protection system now protect 96% of eligible workers from wage abuse; and hundreds of thousands of workers have left Qatar and returned without permission from their employer since exit permits were abolished.

Enforcement too has been strengthened to safeguard workers and prosecute companies that violate the law. Again, the numbers tell the story: 35,280 accommodation and worksite inspections were carried out in the first half of 2021, and 13,724 penalties issued to violating companies.

Systemic reform is a long-term process, and shifting the behaviour of every company takes time. Through its actions, the government is sending a strong message to companies that violations will not be tolerated.

Not a single story from among the thousands of people who have benefited from Qatar’s labour reforms is highlighted in the article. Qatar has never shied away from acknowledging that its labour system is still a work in progress, but we expect reporting to present the facts as they stand. Going forward, Qatar remains firmly committed to cooperation, transparency and continuous improvement of its labour system.
Fahad Al-Mana
Media attache to the UK, government communications office of Qatar

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