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Monday, March 8, 2021

Sudden influx of hundreds of thousands of workers sparks housing concerns

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A sudden spike in the expat workforce, consisting overwhelmingly of male laborers, has sparked questions about where these workers will be housed.

More than 300,000 expats moved to Qatar last year, the majority of them working in the construction and contract industries, according to Ministry of Labor figures. Over the next couple of years, the building boom in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup should attract some half a million more, analysts say.

But Qatar is woefully unprepared when it comes to housing these workers, many of whom are no longer allowed to live in residential areas, according to a “bachelor ban” that took effect in November. 

Barwa Real Estate has announced plans to construct a self-contained township to accommodate Qatar’s single workers, but when completed, will only be able to house 43,000 men.

The Peninsula reports:

Property market sources, meanwhile, told this newspaper that due to the law banning labour camps of construction and contracting companies in residential areas rent prices in the Industrial Area have shot up three-fold.

“A room that could accommodate four workers on average was available on a monthly rent for QR1,000 until a year ago, but the figure has now gone up to QR3,000 and more,” an official from a large construction company told this newspaper.

Given the costs associated with housing new labor, it seems like companies will be tempted to cut corners and leave workers in more squalid conditions than they already experience.

Thoughts? 

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