Qatar’s Move to Replace ‘KAFALA’ System Lauded

MANILA – A group advocating for the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers welcomed the plan of the government of Qatar to introduce a new legislation that would replace the “kafala” system by next year.

“While we welcome this development, we truly hope that the Qatar government will make good its promise. It is one thing to pass legislation and another thing to ensure that it is implemented to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country,” said Sol Pillas, spokesperson of Migrante International.

The controversial Kafala or sponsorship system has been likened by many to modern-day slavery as migrant workers are bound to their sponsors.

“Migrant workers’ residency permits are bound to their sponsors whose written consent is required for workers to change employers or leave the country. Employers often abuse this power to confiscate passports, withhold wages and force migrant workers into slave-like conditions,” Migrante said.

Migrante added that there are about 200,000 Filipinos in Qatar, mostly working as construction workers and domestic workers.

“We also call on other Gulf countries to follow Qatar’s lead. It is about time to abolish the antiquated and unfair system as the kafala,” Pillas said.


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