Sunday, August 30, 2020

Kafala Reform in Qatar

Campaigners in Qatar are claiming a bit of victory concerning that countries draconian labour rights laws.

Qatar has scrapped a rule requiring employers' consent to change jobs and said it will also implement a basic monthly minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($274). In addition to the minimum wage, the ministry has also announced the provision of 500 riyals ($137) for accommodation and 300 riyals ($82.2) for food if those expenses are not provided as part of the contract.

Previously, under Qatar's "kafala" (Arabic word for sponsorship) system, migrant workers needed to obtain their employer's permission - a no-objection certificate (NOC) - before changing jobs, a law that rights activists said tied their presence in the country to their employers and led to abuse and exploitation. Now migrant workers can now change jobs before the end of their contract subject to a notice period.

It will a question of whether these laws are going to be effectively enforced. And now international labour rights activists  can turn their attention to those other nations who still retain kafala.

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