Wage abuses are among the most common and devastating violations of migrant workers’ rights in Qatar and the gulf region
There is a systemic practice of modern day slavery in oil rich Qatar while international communities look away
“How can we work without wages?” HRW
qatar world cup of shame” Amnesty International
Tell FIFA and its sponsors to act now to protect migrant workers in Qatar from abuse” Amnesty International
Employers frequently take away workers’ atm cards, which are supposed to be used by workers to draw their wages.
Report shows that the exploitation of low paid migrant workers, most times amounts to forced labour and human trafficking
This extensively documented ugly trend has increased to a significant scale since the world cup was awarded to Qatar
Deepak, a metal worker on the khalifa stadium
“My life here is like a prison”. The manager said: “if you want to stay in Qatar be quiet and keep working.”
God knows there are days when i cannot continue, everything becomes too much,
the only thing that keeps me alive is the thought of my childrenSakib, a gardener from Bangladesh who took out a loan to pay $4,000 USD to a recruitment agent
I came to work in Qatar to pursue my dreams, but my life is a nightmareKenya migrant worker
“Paul” not real name, from Kenya secured a plumbing job in Qatar after paying $ 1,173 USD
He had to take a loan with high interest in order to pay an agent fee to the agent
When he received the required documents that allowed him to work in Qatar, he thought
“all his prayers had been answered”. but now he lives in regret
EXPENSIVE RECRUITMENT FEES
The internet is daily inundated with sponsored adverts of job opportunities in Qatar.
These adverts are targeted to various social media users especially in Africa, Bangladesh, the Philippines and other third world Nations
agencies make it a duty to secure as many unsuspecting desperate migrants from these regions, by flagging false success stories
These recruitment processes, are intended to exploit desperate migrants into what can best be described as modern day slavery
there are job opportunities in Qatar open to migrants, but the conditions of employments and labor laws are
“usually hidden from these migrants until their personal experience add to the numbers” a migrant said
Even though these migrants seek work in Qatar to escape porverty, agents still charge fees ranging from $500 to $4,300 USD
many are unable to repay their debts even though they work long-hours under back-breaking conditions, because their wages are never fully paid
Investigation by the HRW and Amnesty-International found that even though Qatar relies heavily on migrant workers,
” many employers are withholding, delaying or arbitrarily deducting their workers’ wages.”
“Without the migrant workers daily life in Qatar would come to a complete halt,”
says Maham Javaid Finberg, a fellow at human rights watch.
“Yet, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find migrant workers who haven’t experienced some variety of wage abuse.”
Migrant workers are not only responsible for building the stadiums for the world cup 2022:
They are the drivers, the cleaners, the bartenders, chefs, check-in staff and occupy many other essential professions in qatar’s economy.
HOW THE QATAR KAFALA SYSTEM WORKS
Qatar’s kafala known as the sponsorship system ties the workers to their employers.
employers are responsible for providing legal residency to the migrant workers they hire from abroad
Migrants are forced to depend on employers because the employers sponsor their work permit highly
There are harmful practices that increase migrant dependence on their employee, such as.
- The confiscation of workers passports
- There are factors that contribute to “circumstances of forced labour, making it virtually impossible for workers to leave even abusive employers
- Non-payment of wages
- Long working hours without overtime consideration
- Dangerous working conditions
- Sub-standard housing conditions
- Employers are responsible for securing, renewing, and cancelling residency permits for migrant workers,
- Migrant workers are unable to change jobs without their employers consent ability
“The system grants employers unchecked powers over migrant workers,”
allowing them to evade accountability for labour and human right abuses, and leaves workers beholden to debt and in constant fear of retaliation,”
says the hrw report.
Workers are told they can only leave and work for a different company if they go back home and
“paid the recruitment fees again to a different company”
“if you have a problem and you complain, they can either send you home or they can put you in some kind of deportation camps.”
A migrant worker said
SOURCES: HRW , AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL