Posted on November 03, 2018

Qatar is working on overhauling its labour system so that all employees in the country are protected by the best possible employment laws and regulations, stressing that the State of Qatar was not ambivalent to the plight of its migrant workers, Qatar's Media Attaché for the UK Sheikh Thamer bin Hamad Al-Thani said.

In a statement made to The Guardian, he referred to an article published in the paper on October 29 by Pete Pattisson and said that it failed to acknowledge the progress Qatar has made in reforming its labour system and attempted to portray the country as ambivalent to the plight of our migrant workforce. He stressed that such claims were simply untrue.

Qatar's Media Attaché then presented some number's to reflect the work being made to address labour issues, noting that Qatar carried out over 19,000 labour inspections, banned almost 12,000 companies due to not addressing the laws, and added almost 230,000 electronic contracts to prevent against contract substitution, all in the first half of 2018. In addition to that, he added, Qatar was cooperating with the International Labor Organization and countries of origin to eliminate employment fees at source. The statement also said that these efforts will become more prominent once the country opens 20 visa-processing centres in eight countries over the coming months. Sheikh Thamer highlighted that October also saw the removal of exit permits for the majority of overseas workers, which was hailed as another major step in the reform process.

The Media Attaché maintained however that the State needs to be vigilant in enforcing the new laws. "Where violations of the law occur, workers are encouraged to report these and have multiple mechanisms to do so. This is why we viewed the claims made in the article with such concern and Qatars Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs has announced an investigation into these claims," he said. There was a report The Guardian accusing the sub-contractors of a leading hotel in Qatar of making security guards and gardeners work extra hours and are paid less than minimum wages. The hotel said in the report that they are probing the matter.

The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MoADLSA) had said in a statement earlier that it was aware of recent media reports that suggested the law on working hours may have been broken by a hospitality provider in Doha. “Working hours in Qatar are strictly regulated and recruitment fees are illegal. Where violations of the law occur, workers are encouraged to report these and have multiple mechanisms to do so. This is also backed up by the ministry's labor inspection teams who regularly investigate employers who are suspected to be in breach of the law,” ministry said in the statement.