Though expats filed fewer complaints with the Ministry of Labor in 2011, Doha courts saw a sharp uptick in runaway worker cases last year, according to local media reports.
Some 7,900 such cases were heard by the court at the Search and Follow-Up Department of the Ministry of Interior in 2011, compared to 5,010 the previous year, the Peninsula states.
The number will likely continue to rise this year because of the government’s crackdown against labor law violators, including absconding workers and individuals who hire runaway maids.
Fewer official complaints
Meanwhile, an official at the Ministry of Labor said the government body receives some 350 to 400 complaints from workers each month, down from an average of about 1,000 monthly complaints, Al Sharq reports.
But given the growing number of court cases, it’s unclear whether the drop is a sign that employees are more content or that they are growing increasingly reluctant to ask the government for help.
The stiff penalties for those working without the necessary visas suggests the latter.
The Peninsula reports
Lawyer Mohsin Thiyab Al Suwaidi said a foreign worker caught working illegally with a family or company could face a maximum jail term of three years and fine or either. The person or company providing employment to a runaway worker or to someone who is not under his or the company’s sponsorship is also liable to be penalized, he said…
He said many foreigners arriving here on business, tourist and visit visas also flout rules and take up jobs. Illegal workers are a threat to social security and so they must be hunted down, he added.
Credit: Photo by Tim Hatton