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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Labor minister ’90 percent sure’ Qatar will see kafala reform in 2015

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the latest update on much-awaited changes to the nation’s kafala sponsorship system, Qatar’s labor minister has said he is “hopeful” that reforms pledged a year ago will be implemented by the end of December.

Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Dr. Abdullah bin Saleh Al Khulaifi made the remarks while speaking to foreign media on a state-organized tour of the country this week. AFP quotes him as saying:

“I hope it will be prior to the year end. We discussed it, our stakeholders have looked at it… Now it is on track. I am 90 percent hopeful or believe that it will be (brought in before the year end).”

“It is not I who says it. It is our vision, our strategy… The new Qatar will no longer be having the kafala system. It will all be contractual agreements between employees and employer.

“We are not hiding from our problems here in Qatar, we are facing them,” Al Khulaifi added.

One year on

The official’s comments come nearly one year after authorities pledged speedy reform of kafala, saying the law would be changed to make it easier for expats to change jobs and leave the country in a press conference on May 14, 2014.

Last July, the labor minister said that the new system would come into place “as quickly as possible.”

However, the reforms still had to be discussed by Qatar’s business community, which appeared to give the green light in October last year when Qatar’s Chamber of Commerce said it would support the new system, as long as the law protected the interests of both the workers and the business owners.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The minister’s latest statement on the implementation of the reforms would appear to be progress on his position in March this year, when he warned that there was no set timetable for when the changes would become law.

The reforms are still waiting be approved by the state’s Advisory ((Shura) Council, before the Emir signs them into law.

Initially described as “abolishing” kafala, the announced reforms fell short of that promise, and did not propose to get rid of the system of exit permits and no-objection certificates.

A foreigner’s sponsor would still be able to apply to block an expat from leaving the country, and those who sign an open-ended contract would have to work in Qatar for five years before being able to freely change jobs.

Many international rights groups have condemned the sponsorship system, saying it enables an employer to wield too much control over an expat’s living and working situation in Qatar, contributing to abuses of power and exploitation of workers.

Speaking to AFP, Amnesty International researcher Mustafa Qadri said of the proposed changes:

“It’s another form of kafala with a different name, admittedly less restrictive but with many of the same problems.”

He added that the promised new rules still amounted to “forced labor,” as the employee cannot leave the country without permission from his employer.

So far, the only change that has been enacted from the list of reforms pledged last year is the Wage Protection System, which requires all employers to pay their staff by direct bank transfer and aims to tackle workers’ persistent complaints of late on non-payment of their wages.

First announced in July last year, the law was signed by the Emir in February and will be enforced starting in August. Employers in violation of the amendment could face jail time of up to one month and fines of QR2,000 to QR6,000.

Housing

The state of the accommodation often used to house migrant workers during their time in Qatar has also been criticized for being cramped, unsanitary and overcrowded.

Speaking with reporters this week, the labor minister admitted that these conditions are a “major problem.”

AP quotes Al Khulaifi as saying:

“Our delay nationally of accommodating properly such a population I think (was) a mistake that we are trying to remedy now. Current substandard labor accommodations are unacceptable.”

The official added that more spot-checks are being conducted on company accommodation, while the number of inspectors has almost doubled to 294 from 150 two years ago. A further 100 are being hired as part of “an ongoing, continuous project to upgrade our inspectors,” he said.

barwa al baraha
Barwa Al Baraha

A number of organizations in Qatar have rules about workers’ accommodation. Both Qatar Foundation and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy – which is overseeing the construction of Qatar’s World Cup stadiums and training facilities – have workers’ charters.

In addition to requiring companies to pay for overtime and eschew the use of recruiters who charge worker fees, QF’s charter sets out minimum housing standards. This includes a maximum of four beds per room, allocating six square meters per resident as well as providing recreation areas.

Among the residential projects planned for lower-income workers is the $1 billion Barwa Al Baraha project, which aims to accommodate more than 50,000 migrants with other facilities including shops, a mosque, sports fields, used car showrooms and office space.

Thoughts?

87 COMMENTS

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katcalls
katcalls
5 years ago

And I’m 90% sure I will marry Prince Harry!

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  katcalls

And I’m 90% sure I will be beach fit by summer.

In all seriousness, the QFC are exempt from some of these NOC laws, and look at the legal strife it has got companies in as they try to enforce non-compete clauses and employment restrictions:

This from today’s Peninsula about a company trying to prevent a former employee from working for a competitor. The final two sentences are particularly interesting.

The Appellate Division found, inter alia, that a clause in Ayash’s contract which prevented him from working for a competitor, once his employment with Chedid had ceased, constituted “an unreasonable restraint on trade”. The Appellate Division observed that: “Qatar has always welcomed foreign nationals willing to provide services that might otherwise be unavailable or in short supply. It is in the public interest that a foreigner, who has taken up employment with one employee, should be free to continue to provide services by taking up employment with an alternative employer should his initial employment come to an end.”

http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/336100/court-rejects-company-s-appeal-against-former-employee

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago

Yawn.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Unfortunatley the Minister’s comments were incorrectly translated from Arabic to English. What he really said was, ‘I am 90% sure the name change of the sponsorship system will happen before the end of the year and hopefully everyone will then go away and stop bothering us’

He then went on to explain Qatar’s progressive race relations policy, ‘come see Asian Town, its where we keep all our happy little Asians when they are not working. Look, see their smiling faces, the joy being amongst their own with no need to come into town, it is after all such a long journey’

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

@mimh:disqus Can you please confirm that is your translation or from a friend? are you an Arabic speaker. Thanks

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

s.a.t.i.r.e.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

lol

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Name change? Why not rename it to Schmafala?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I don’t understand this.

“Among the residential projects planned for lower-income workers is the $1 billion Barwa Al Baraha project, which aims to accommodate more than 50,000 migrants with other facilities including shops, a mosque, sports fields, used car showrooms and office space.”

Wouldn’t it make more sense to build then a Hindu Temple rather than a mosque seeing as the majority of these workers from Indian and Nepal are Hindus.

Yes
Yes
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It makes more sense to build a mosque since this is a Muslim country.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yes

Are you suggesting the hindus convert?

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Did you convert when you came here?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

No, but nobody built a mosque in my back garden, I guess if they did and pointed at it each Friday I might have been curious and gone inside…..
If they want to help and make life more comfortable, why not provide them they religious establishment that the majority would use rather than one that is of no pratical use, except for a few.

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The majority will use- So you decide who forms the majority now. Plus the mosque is not being pushed down anyone’s throat. There is a need for a mosque and is good they are being built. Don’t think the Qatar govt needs your permission for that.

KS
KS
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The mosques in the industrial areas are pretty inadequate. Go there on a Friday afternoon and you will notice it cannot accomodate the large numbers living there. So yes, its a good move.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  KS

Sounds like they need some more mosques and some temples.

SVBD
SVBD
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Temple is a distant dream… some Hindus are even scared to wear their traditional clothes with the fear of deportation.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  SVBD

That is sad, I thought these Ministers were making on how Qatar was making life easier for low income workers and also helping their psychological needs as well as physical. I don’t understand why they would be scared of a temple, I am sure all the Muslims will not rush to convert as soon as they see it….

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Everybody should be a Muslim. Then there would be no more religious wars and nobody would be a non-believer. However, you ought to be careful which Muslim sect you’re going to choose.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Whic is the correct one? I don’t want to get it wrong first time and then have to convert to a different version.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It depends on your location.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Can I just adopt a mixture of all the various sects and then I’m covered for all eventualities.

SVBD
SVBD
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I know a practicing Hindu family living in a flat, somebody throws rubbish on their door. I asked them why don’t you complain to police, they mentioned that they are scared if police knows that they are practicing Hindu.
It seems some hindu groups were deported in 2008 without any reasons explained…

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  SVBD

My god! I know a Muslim family living in a flat with all Hindu neighbours .. They collect gold fish feces .. Make them into on large gold fish feces ball and leave it at their door step…. Plz ppl don’t tell me your buying this… theh are afriad coz they are Hindu!!! There are over a million Hindus in Qatar and have been here since early 40’s.. Where are you bringing these stories from..

Oh yeah let me enlighten you… A group of Hindus did get expled from Doha years ago… U want to know why… Coz they took burnt the body of deceased relative of theirs on wakra beach… They took the body from the morge .. Citing they’d want to have a religious ritciual of preparing the body before it ships out for burial in India… Instead they put the body on some make float with flowers poured some sort of flammable fluids on it and set it on fire as the body was pushed into the sea.. Authorities arrived to the scene … What did you expet them to react… Let see how a bunch of Hindu tourist in America would be treated if they mislead authorities take a body from the morgue and then driver up to a public lake and set the body on fire !!

Why do I even try

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Don’t you know you are always wrong, if a Qatari does a good deed then it must be because he is rich, if a Qatari does a bad thing the whole country has gone wrong and some people live in their cellars just in case a Qatari smashing into their house with their LandCrusier and tries to eat their babies because of kafala….

Yummykarak
Yummykarak
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ahahahaha! Seems what a lot of people appear to think unfortunately 😛

SVBD
SVBD
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

That’s not good what they did, lets ignore the stories and stick to the point that, as you pointed out there are so many Hindus and Sikh. Let them have temple and Gurudwara to worship.
Btw there were several Hindu groups deported including a Yoga group- ‘Art of Living’.

SQ
SQ
5 years ago
Reply to  SVBD

Lol. The stories people come up with. You should be making movies.

katcalls
katcalls
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I’m certainly no expert in it, but I believe this issue may stem from the fact that Hindus believe in a multitude of gods, all with unique histories and personalities. Theoretically, Christians and Jews worship and acknowledge the same single god as Muslims and are “people of the book.” This may make Christian churches more palatable than a Hindu temple.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  SVBD

I see Sikhs with their turbans all over town and the sikh sticker on cars all the time and cross key chains and neckles on car mirrors all the time… Plz enlighten me, plz, what are the Hindu traditional clothes they are afraid to wear? And are they afraid from qatari authorities or from the black last of other sects of the indian and Pakistani community?

FK
FK
5 years ago
Reply to  SVBD

So why live in Qatar if you get deported for wearing your traditional clothes? Talk about delusions.

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago

Correct me if I am wrong, however, as Qatar is an absolute monarchy, the Emir could force legal change the same day if he had the political will to do so, n’est-ce pas?

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Come on it is not that easy. Do you want the Emir to issue a decree today and then next week complaints start to emerge from each side on how the decision was bad and poorly implemented and no institution was ready to handle it properly? Do you think the MOI, Ministry of Labour and government/private companies will be ready overnight to change their procedures and prepare their staff for it? Don’t you think there must be a legal framework and that this framework has to be written by legal experts, discussed, finetuned, etc.? Honestly were you sober when you posted your comment? 🙂

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

What you say is true enough, but a quiet word from the Emir to ministers and ministries would make it happen in a reasonable timeline. Neither this Emir nor his predecessor has seen fit to do that – it only seems reasonable to assume that either 1. the Emir doesn’t have the power/influence to make it so, 2. he doesn’t wish change. I don’t see any other explanation.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

You missed 3. He thinks it’s already implemented as per his CNN interview.

Expat77
Expat77
5 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

4 th option The Govt wishes to change the system but Chamber of Commerce blocks it…

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Expat77

Which goes back to point 1 regarding power/influence

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yacine, I was indeed sober when I wrote my comment. Again, the political system here is an absolute monarchy. Officials hold their positions at the pleasure of the Emir. Thus, if the Emir saw this issue to be an important one, a few direct discussions could find change implemented at lightning speed, not glacial inertia.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

The Emir can give a deadline (which may or may not be respected), can put more pressure on ministers for this particular issue and make it a top priority, and can even appoint a team dedicated just to this task. All these seem to be reasonable actions but none of them can be done or have an effect the “same day” as you are suggesting.

But to say that the pace of change is very slow, yes I absolutely agree.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

President Bush and the Americans are to blame for the glacial pace of change

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Haha this one one is good 🙂

dubious
dubious
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That changing things overnight might cause issues doesn’t seem to factor into most state agencies’ world view. It definitely doesn’t in the case of SEC.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  dubious

I totally agree. We’ve heard about bizarre decisions with immediate effect coming from several institutions here (SEC, Qatar University, etc.). Needless to say these decisions are bad at best, absolutely catastrophic at worst.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Yes just like the queen on England can sack the PM …

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

That’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The Emir could theoretically do it if it comes to an absolute necessity. But it’s always best to let it run its course through the proper channels, to iron out the discrepancies.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Well, some (deluded) Qataris would tell you that the Emir isn’t a politician; if that is the case, can he have ‘political will’?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

I don’t believe they are deluded, everyone is noting that on the domestic front the Emir is taking a step back and allowing the PM and the state different ministries to govern the country and to develop and implement laws and regulations. Though the emir in theory can with a signature of a pen enforce change immediatly I believe he is less and less using such power. Off course all laws end up being signed by the emir but not till it has spent months and months bouncing between the cabinet, shuraa council and at times chamber of commerce or MMUP.

The emir is clearly still very active in term of developing Qatar foreign relations network.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

They are mulling.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Interesting points all.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

It is the Egyptian advisors that are developing laws and regulations, if you can call a copy-paste job that way

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

There is a significant difference between an absolute monarchy and a constitutional monarchy…

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Qatar is technically a constitutional monarchy as per the 2003 constitutional referendum where some 93% of eligable voters voted for the change… However I take your point in that Qatar is a far from becoming what you typically call a constitutional monarchy

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Technically, North Korea is the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’. However, I think you would agree that there is very little ‘democratic’ action in place in that country.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Time and time again it’s he western expat community of Dohanews who preach tolerance and acceptence and upholding higher values and time and time again it’s the same people who do nothing but troll the site, diminish and attack.. For one second i thought I was have an intelligent discussion .. Then i remembered this is the internat … Very typical expat attitude

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

The Constitution has not been fully implemented, mind you

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

In theory yes he could, but in practise he could run into all sorts of trouble if he started making all the decisions on his own. You need to remember in this part of the world you are only a day away from the next coup, (his father could tell you how that works in Qatar) so he needs stay above political squabbles.
Better to stay above and keep your hands clean, that always gives you plausible denial if something goes wrong.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

This is not accurate reporting; it does not state which year end, therefore it does not mean 2015, it could, and probably will, mean any year end.

Mehrea
5 years ago

” Hopefully “. Not precisely ! May be not. We will see..

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

If i was a PR officer I would take all press rights away from all ministers in Qatar… If they want to make change they can only make press statements a year after the change has been implemented and be allowed to make statements on the performance of this change… This is ridiculous

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Sounds good to me – I’d add Akbar Al-Baker to that list too.

Farhan Khurshid
Farhan Khurshid
5 years ago

Based on their all previous statements, I have calculated the correct year which is 2020 ; i.e., 2015 Dec (90%), 2016 Mid (91%), 2016 End (92%), ….. 2020 Mid (99%), 2020 End (100%) .. Simply ridiculous …

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago

It’s an asymptotic solution that never reaches 100%, 99.95, 99.995, and so on 😀

Posthaze
Posthaze
5 years ago

rofl, Fell from my chair

Chilidog
Chilidog
5 years ago

I’m no gambler, but if I was I’d find a way to bet the farm on the under here. Most likely 10% probability in the history of probabilities.

Rapha31
Rapha31
5 years ago

Will probably be implemented in the year 2020 and then go back to the present kafala system in 2023.

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago

Yeah it will happen but when is the big question. In the meantime lets just be content on listening that it will happen all over again and again

sicti
sicti
5 years ago

please hold, I’m getting my popcorn :)))

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Given the track record of such announcements, usually given when someone is put on the spot at an international meeting or in an interview, how can anyone believe a single word of the latest – especially what constitutes “change”.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

It’s called Public Relations. Or Propaganda.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

And if anyone reports otherwise?

https://twitter.com/FloBauerAuthor

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And of course if you detain journalists the global media starts picking up on the story… http://bit.ly/1zK0zmI

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

angela merkel will not like this

Mohammed
Mohammed
5 years ago

They are talking about minimum housing standards, still there is lot of accommodations are look like a goat farm. Even though i saw an accommodation in Madinat Khalifa near old muroor which accommodates 8 persons per room where there is no space to sit and eat and only just 2 gas cookers provided for more than 20 people. 🙁

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Mohammed

These places will be off limits in 2022, don’t worry.

KK
KK
5 years ago

Before year-end? Please specify what calendar system you are using.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago

90 % Inshallah, 10% no way, take you pick.

Dominic James
Dominic James
5 years ago

4 bed in one room equal to 8 people in a room exchanging Oxygen

Diego
Diego
5 years ago

And Dorje Gerung was 90% certain that he would be spending the 10th night in jail back in the day.Fortunately, that didn’t happen.But thats my take on stats.

LIJITH
LIJITH
5 years ago

another funny news……

Teddy
Teddy
5 years ago

The suspence is killing me!

Bloodymer Zkizzoid
Bloodymer Zkizzoid
5 years ago

Wake me up, when kafala ends.

ASD
ASD
5 years ago

|AA

ABC
ABC
5 years ago

I think this is just a joke, how long does this takes. May be the day before FIFA, and next day it will be changed back to the old law.
There is sewage water on the roads of industrial and garbage. Where are the authorities are they a sleep.

My Name is Khan
My Name is Khan
5 years ago

Hi guys,there is nothing going to be change until 10 years.. this is just a political drama, don’t believe ,…
because in UAE they said same thing in 1998 but system implemented in 2009 .ahaha so its big funny .never change Qatar kafala system by this year or next year or next 2022. 0 % .

James young
James young
5 years ago

Very sad state of affairs and Sadly About as much chance as improving animal welfare in Qatar so don’t hold your breath as neither issues are selfie worthy or ‘hip’ enough for the people who could implement change

Gra Cey
Gra Cey
5 years ago

I hope they will implement the new law as soon as possible as many foreign employees are suffering and abusing by their sponsors and not following the qatar law…

Guytotop
Guytotop
5 years ago

The Kafala issue is just told by Authorities to hold the scene to favor 2022..

Trimendous changes have happened, but why only this is dragged from 2010-2011?.almost 5 years..

Here , dont expect any changes in favor of us!.

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