Good news for foreign workers in Qatar! In a social media post through Qatar News Agency, the government has approved a bill that provides support funds for foreign workers. There are approximately two million foreign employees in the country, and when this bill becomes a law, it will help ensure that these workers will be properly paid and at the right time, among other benefits.
The bill is known as the Workers Support and Insurance Fund, and will be backed by the Labour cabinet, spearheaded by Minister Issa al-Nuaimi. Filipino workers currently in Qatar will surely rejoice at this measure, even as the Philippine government now provides them opportunities to return home.
Foreign Workers in Qatar Gets Support With New Bill
HH the Amir issued Law No. 17 of 2018 establishing the Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund. The fund aims to support, ensure and provide care for workers, guarantee their rights and provide a healthy and safe working environment for them.
— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) October 30, 2018
The support and insurance fund includes introducing a minimum wage to foreign workers so that they get paid properly and can live decently. In the past, Qatar has been caught in the crossfire of complaints from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and other countries who claim that their workers aren’t properly paid while working in Qatar.
The workers from the said countries came to Qatar to help in the construction of stadiums and other structures for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022. Moreover, Qatar has also been criticized for overdue wages and the lack of laws to regulate these exploitative actions.
ITUC Welcomes New Bill
According to Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), these new measures are a sign that the government of Qatar is committed to regulating protections for the industrial foreign workers.
Burrow adds that while there’s still more to be done, this bill is a move in the right direction towards giving workers dignity and allowing them to live with secure livelihoods.
Similar Laws for Foreign Worker Support
The bill is related to a labor law which was passed last year, aimed at helping foreign workers leave their jobs and the country if they find that this is best for their overall interest and protection. In particular, the Kefala requirements were eased. Kefala is Qatar’s sponsorship system for workers, and it provides regulations which prompt workers to ask permission from their owners before they can leave their jobs.
The law helped to set up a complaint committee in the country, so that if workers aren’t given permission to leave, they can ask for help from this committee. In addition, back in 2015, a law known as the Wage Protection System required firms to send their salaries via electronic transfer, with the cooperation of one of the more established financial institutions in Qatar.
Indeed, Qatar has taken the necessary steps to ensure that all workers in their country, not just the local ones, get benefits and protection from the government.