Why did Qatar change its cruel employment laws?

Why did Qatar change its cruel employment laws?

If you are also among the Pakistanis living or working in Gulf countries like Dubai, Doha or Sharjah, you will realize how difficult it is to change jobs there.

In the United States, H1B visas for employment can be transferred from one employer to another, but the sponsorship system does not have this facility. If the sponsorship is to be transferred from one employer to another, it requires the first employer's legal testimony in which he allows his employee to change jobs.

Obviously, for this reason, even if an employee is unhappy with the working conditions and salary and has a better job offer, he cannot change his job.

It is straightforward that an employer never pays attention to improving working conditions or salaries because he knows that his employees cannot do any other job without his permission. For this reason, even if an employee wants to leave his job, he must first return to his home country, which is not possible for most people.


Qatar became the first country to change the system

Last September, Qatar became the first country to pass legislation to change the system. These set of rules are now being enforced.

Under the rules, foreign workers working in Qatar will no longer need their employer's testimony to change jobs.

This will eliminate a major problem for workers in the Gulf, and employers will focus on improving their employees' salaries and working conditions.


Will housing be provided to employees?

In addition to the new sponsorship laws, Qatar, like the United Arab Emirates, has set a minimum monthly salary of 27 275 for every employee employed since August 30, 2020.

In addition, an employer will have to provide accommodation to its employees or pay the employee 21 213 per month for the accommodation.


Unlike sponsorship laws, this legislation is not a very good example. The amount set for the minimum wage is much less than the average amount needed to live there.

The fact is that since the blockade of Qatar, the prices of foodstuffs and other items have skyrocketed and these basic necessities have become out of reach of the workers. In many places in the UAE, the minimum income is even lower.


Difficult or easy for laborers?

Qatar should congratulate on this move. Human rights activists have repeatedly pointed out that the kafala system is a form of slavery. It has been observed that tying a worker to the same employer obliges the worker to abide by strict conditions.

The laborer either endures these difficult conditions (including non-payment of wages) or is forced to return to his home country. These workers have taken so many loans to go abroad that there is no question of returning to their homeland. This abusive attitude has been going on for hundreds of years with hundreds of workers.


When will this system be implemented?

It is being speculated that the reason for these rules in Qatar is the FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar next year. The next day, Amnesty International wrote an open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressing concern over the Qatari Shura consul's tough stance on the sponsorship system and employer change. At the same time, it has been mentioned that hardly any employment laws have been implemented in Qatar.


The letter said FIFA should also consider the ongoing abuse of workers here before selecting Qatar for the World Cup. Even after the selection of Qatar, it remains FIFA's responsibility to ensure that workers are not subjected to further abuse.


Amnesty International's letter clarifies Qatar's impetus for changes to the sponsorship system. The move was prompted by pressure from FIFA, which itself has been under pressure from human rights groups such as Amnesty International. However, the implementation of these new rules will not cause Qatar as much economic damage as the cancellation of the FIFA World Cup or the boycott by fans in the face of labor abuse.


Whatever the reasons for these laws, they certainly raise hopes that Qatar's rivals in the region could enact similar legislation. If human rights records are taken into account before selecting host countries for an international sporting event, the UAE and other countries in the region will be forced to provide better facilities and wages to workers on their soil. ۔


Foreign fans comment on labor

Foreign fans who come to watch the FIFA World Cup will come here to have a good time. What could ruin their good times more than the realization that the workers here are being treated like animals while their employers are making a lot of money?


Qatari nationals may be used to ignoring this behavior, but foreign FIFA fans will not ignore it at all. This threat is a precursor to change in Qatar. We can only hope that the Qatari government will not re-impose the old oppressive system after the FIFA World Cup.