Debt and distress. The reality of migrant workers in Qatar

The spectacular photos that got here to us from Qatar of the eight massive stadiums being constructed to host the 2022 World Cup, which is able to start in mid-November, disguise a horrible and harsh reality of the circumstances of labor of migrant workers who make this building program attainable with out precedents.

The nation employed hundreds of migrant workers to construct eight stadiums, a brand new airport, new roads, public transportation methods and motels. Qatar’s authorities says it employed 30,000 workers simply to construct the stadiums.

In 2021, an investigation of The Guardian concluded that greater than 6500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died in Qatar because the nation ready to host the soccer world cup. Forced to work for 12 consecutive hours and not using a break, many of these workers died of coronary heart assaults and respiratory failure because of excessive temperatures. The newspaper estimated that in the previous 12 years, about 12 migrant workers have died each week.

In the previous few months, extra and extra information has been printed exposing the deplorable dwelling circumstances of migrant workers and the alarming scale of exploitation they’ve been subjected to.

In addition to the harmful circumstances they stay in, these workers – principally from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – stay in distress as a result of of the low wages and unlawful charges they’re compelled to pay. . In addition, workers are compelled to work below the risk of withholding wages, handing over to the police or being prevented from leaving Qatar.

According to the report of The Guardianthe workers lived in “decadent shacks”, with out home windows and in unsanitary circumstances.
Required to pay recruitment charges
All the workers interviewed by the British newspaper additionally stated they had been compelled to pay unlawful charges to brokers in their very own international locations to safe their jobs.

Migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal make up a 3rd of Qatar’s workforce and pay, on common, charges from 1,500 to 1,500, or US $ 3,000 to US $ 4,000, relying on the job. Workers find yourself going deeper into debt, as a result of they earn greater than $275 a month.many must work for greater than a yr simply to pay these recruitment charges or are compelled to take out loans.

“I paid 300 thousand taka [moeda do Bangladesh] of payments,” stated a employee The Guardian, an quantity equal to about 3000 euros. “Some pay a bit, some a bit, however everybody pays,” he stated.

“The wage could be very low, it is vitally tough”, a newspaper employee confessed, saying that he can solely ship 180 euros a month to his spouse and youngsters who stay in India.

The organizing committee of the 2022 World Cup applied a method in 2018 to make sure that firms with contracts for the stadiums being constructed pay their workers recruitment charges. These similar firms say they paid greater than $28 million to 49,000 workers. However, all of the workers interviewed in shepherd stated they haven’t acquired a refund.
the kafala system
Many workers apply for this job as a result of they see it as a lifeline, as a result of they can not discover work or earnings in their nation of origin.

However, in addition to the deplorable circumstances and money owed they’re topic to, these males are nonetheless held hostage by their employers, prevented from altering jobs or leaving the nation.

This is because of the so-called kafala system, a regime used in Qatar to regulate migrant workers. The system requires that every one workers have a sponsor in the nation, normally their employer, who’s liable for their visa and authorized standing.

In the face of criticism from many human rights organizations, Qatar introduced in 2020 a brand new legislation promising to abolish the kafala system. However, workers say the corporate continues to stress them to not change jobs.

“The firm didn’t give us permission to depart. We can solely change if we go dwelling, cancel the visa and make a brand new software”, stated a employee.

“If we alter jobs, everybody will go away,” stated one other employee.
A quantity of deported workers
Recently, many workers have been fired for protesting in opposition to non-payment of wages.

Six dozen workers protested in August outdoors the native places of work of Al Bandary International Group in Doha, a conglomerate that mixes building, actual property, motels, meals companies and different companies.

Among the protesters, there are those that haven’t acquired wage even for seven months.

Many of the protesters had been ultimately arrested and others deported for “violating safety legal guidelines”, the Qatari authorities claimed.

Faced with these studies, FIFA argued that many measures have been applied in current years to enhance the safety of workers’ rights in Qatar.

For its half, the Qatari authorities additionally argued that it had lately launched a collection of reforms to enhance working circumstances for migrants and rejected an Amnesty report in 2021 that identified that hundreds migrant workers proceed to be exploited in the nation.

According to Amnesty International, greater than 17,000 soccer followers from 15 international locations argued that FIFA ought to compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights violations.

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