Qatar has taken several steps to improve the living conditions and rights of migrant workers working in the country. Some of the key actions taken by the government include minimum wage, health and safety protection and ending of the kafala system.
Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, the Qatari Minister of Labour stated that his country was keen to implement the ILO standards, and ensure that migrant workers get their full rights. Major changes and reforms included:
Minimum Wage: In 2019, Qatar introduced a minimum wage of QR 750 ($205) for migrant workers, which is considered one of the highest in the region. The government also set up a complaints mechanism for workers to report violations of the minimum wage and other labor laws.
Health and Safety: The government has implemented safety regulations and building codes to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for workers. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) also has inspection teams that monitor working conditions and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
Kafala System: Qatar has reformed the kafala system, which previously required workers to have their employer’s permission to change jobs or leave the country. Under the new system, workers are now able to change jobs and leave the country without the need for an employer’s permission, which gives them more freedom and autonomy.
Other Rights: Qatar has also taken steps to improve the welfare of workers and their families. This includes the establishment of health centers and clinics for migrant workers and their families, as well as the provision of education and training programs to help workers improve their skills and find better-paying jobs.
Transparency: Qatar has improved the transparency of the labor market by making it easier for workers to change jobs and to access information about their rights and the laws that protect them.
Labor Law: The government has also introduced a new labor law, known as Law No. 21 of 2015, which strengthens the rights of migrant workers and increases the penalties for employers who violate these rights. The law includes provisions for better working conditions, including reasonable working hours, rest days, and paid leave, as well as protections against discrimination and abuse.
It’s worth noting that despite the efforts from the Qatari government, there have been reports of worker abuse and exploitation, and the effectiveness of the reforms is still in question. However, the government has been taking steps to address these issues and continues to make efforts to improve the rights and living conditions of migrant workers in the country. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, the Qatari Minister of Labour, stated earlier that Qatar made major changes to labor market but media did not reflect such changes.
One of the key accomplishments of Al Marri’s efforts has been the establishment of a new government agency, the National Committee for Human Rights, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of these reforms and ensuring that they are effective. The agency has been praised by international human rights organizations for its work in promoting workers’ rights, and has been credited with making significant progress in improving conditions for workers in Qatar.
In addition to his work at the national level, Al Marri has also been active in international forums, working with other countries and organizations to promote labor rights and improve working conditions for workers around the world. He has also been a vocal advocate for the rights of migrant workers, and has called for greater protections for these workers to ensure that they are treated fairly and humanely.
During a hearing held in Nov 2022 in Brussels, Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri stated that many improvements had been made over the past years in terms of worker’s rights and conditions, and that his former position as chairman of the national human rights committee was a testament to the direction the government was taking. His statements were supported by Max Tuñón, head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office in Doha.