More than 800 companies in Qatar have been banned from applying for government contracts or requesting warehouse units as punishment for breaching the state’s labor law, a government official has reportedly said.
In the first six months of the year, 807 firms have been temporarily blacklisted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), which also means that they are not permitted to hire any new staff while the penalty is in place, The Peninsula reports.
The ministry’s director of work relations Mohamed Al Meer reportedly told Al Sharq that the penalties are short-term and can be lifted once companies are seen to have conformed to the law.
No specific reasons as to how the Law No. 14 of 2004 was breached were given, but Al Meer said the violations included human rights-related issues as well as procedural ones, like not having a registered office for the company.
If a similar rate of companies are sanctioned during the remainder of this year, then the total number of blacklisted firms for 2015 would be significantly lower than in previous years.
In January 2013 for example, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) announced that it had blacklisted 2,400 companies and a further 1,200 individuals for failing to meet the standards of the state’s labor law during 2012.
Those firms had failed to provide or renew their employees’ residency permits, employed “runaway” workers, and/or refused to pay to send their workers home after their employment was finished, prompting some expats to stay and work in Qatar without the proper paperwork, the MOI said at the time.
It is not clear if the decrease in sanctions this year are due to more companies adhering to the law, or if enforcement has been stricter than in previous years.
Early last year, the MOI announced it was taking a tougher line on employers who hire undocumented staff.
The punishments include “blacklisting” offenders by not allowing them to recruit new employees for two years, while companies and individuals who allow their sponsored employers to work for others could be blacklisted for one year.