Qatar’s largest expatriate community deserves better treatment from its employers, the Indian diaspora has said ahead of an official visit today from Qatar’s Emir, the Economic Times reports.
In his first trip to the country since 2005, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani is expected to hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the only Indian PM to ever have visited Qatar.
India is expecting Qatar to assure the supply of an additional three million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) during the visit, but issues related to visa and labor laws are also likely to be discussed, an official told ET.
More than half a million Indians live in Qatar, working mostly middle-level and low paid jobs. Many have expressed dissatisfaction with their working and living conditions and low wages.
“There is a need for better protection of the interests of Indian workers, especially in the low-paid category,” said Kurian Kuriakose, managing partner of the Doha-based Morison Menon Chartered Accountants.
He said Qatar should liberalise visa norms and grant work permit to more Indian workers who have played a significant role in the growth and development of the country.”
…”My passport is held by the employer. I can’t leave the country without an exit permit. These things must change,” said an Indian banking professional based in Doha, who did not wish to be identified for fear of retaliation.
The Emir, accompanied by wife Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Misned, will be in India from April 8 to April 10.
Credit: Photo by Omar Chatriwala