Qatar to Amend Law on Foreign Workers’ Salaries

Qatar said Thursday it will introduce a major labor law reform to ensure thousands of workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup are paid on time, after complaints by rights groups.

The changes by the future hosts of football’s biggest tournament, approved by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, will see workers get paid at least once a month and in some cases every fortnight.

The move could head off some criticism of Qatar which has come under mounting international pressure to improve conditions for migrant laborers working on projects for the World Cup.

The announcement comes before the international spotlight is bound to fall on Qatar again as FIFA officials visit Doha early next week to finalize a date for the controversial tournament.

Under the proposal, wages will be paid through direct bank transfers which should, in theory, make it easier to track those employers that do not comply with the new law.

It is not yet clear when the reforms will be introduced but employers will have six months to implement them.

If they do not, they could face up to one month in prison as well as a fine of up to 6,000 Qatari Riyals ($1,650, 1,440 euros).

The Qatari government said on Wednesday night that it was about to announce the reforms but details about what the changes actually entailed were only given on Thursday.

Non-payment of migrant workers, especially those in the construction sector, has become a sensitive issue for Qatar.

Last November, Amnesty International accused the government in Doha of not doing enough on the issue of non-payment despite intense scrutiny after Qatar was the World Cup.

And earlier this year, lack of progress on the issue was again highlighted, this time by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

(Source: David Harding, Agence France-Presse –

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