UN official urges Qatar to scrap kafala system

UN official urges Qatar to scrap kafala system

Doha Socialite
By Doha Socialite

A UN official has called on Qatar on to abolish a sponsorship system for migrant workers he said was a source of labour abuse, raising pressure on the 2022 World Cup host for reforms of its workplace practices. 

Francois Crepeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants told a news conference in Doha that living conditions of foreign workers tended to be poor, describing one compound he had visited as a "slum".

"This marks a stain on Qatar's reputation and is something that can be improved right away," he said on Sunday.

​Faced with the challenge of completing big construction and infrastructure projects before the World Cup, the Gulf state has an increasing number of its estimated 1.8 million foreigners working on projects related to football's showcase event.

Crepeau said the sponsorship, or kafala, system, a practice widely used in the Gulf, ought to be scrapped.

"This system that is used to regulate the relationship between employers and migrant workers, with a work permit linked to a single employer, is problematic and a source of abuse against migrants," he said.

Under the system, employees cannot change jobs or leave the country without the permission of their sponsors, who are often labour supply companies or wealthy individual Qataris who provide workers to businesses for personal profit.

Many sponsors confiscate the passports of guest workers for the duration of their contract. Most foreign workers are in the construction and domestic work sectors.

Crepeau said that despite some improvements to labour regulations, implementation was still lacking.

Qatari Labour Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment.

Source: Reuters | UN

By hornet33• 8 years 7 months ago.
hornet33

i would like to ask if anyone has any insight on exit permits and how often/willing employers ('sponsores') give out these letters.If for example someone needs to leave beacuse of an emergency can they leave withought sponsores position ad if yes what are the concequences (read somthing about a 2 year ban of enering the country as well as an article stating officials can reject you leaving at the airport.

Any information would be appreciated.

By britexpat• 8 years 7 months ago.
britexpat

sTrangR: You didn't answer my question.

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

@one_shot

Its a modern slavery whether you like it or not , and you have think about it in a civilized manner not as person living in 7th century , especially when many people point finger at you , just realize you are doing something wrong .

By one_shot• 8 years 7 months ago.
one_shot

i don't know why i involved the language part hehehe never mind

i hate the banning system which not allowing me to find better job for me with higher salary which i can find it easlily with double of what i am getting now(this is the point trying to find better opportunity but it is not like treating you like slave )

because in every company you will find a boss sitting on his desk and doing nothing except blaming YOU for his mistakes and making your life miserable and getting more than you and you are the clever young guy who thinks that he deserves better.

it is everywhere and if you said it is only here then allow me to say that you are a big liar.

By one_shot• 8 years 7 months ago.
one_shot

this is my point here,

but you guys u just hear from everybody ( banning system is bad , we don't like it )

have you thought that gulf countries is one of few countries they accept people without learning their languages?

i can't imagine you start learning and speaking Arabic ;) :P

By one_shot• 8 years 7 months ago.
one_shot

the german dog has no choice to leave, but the person has the freedom to do that.

it is just argument from another view of point and it is not mine but i am just stating it.

we are not talking here about the companies who are treating their employees like sh*t , we are talking here about system "banning system " which is supporting the company more than the employee but if you guys really want to think in a good system you should call for causes like this

1-salary to be transferred by the bank (salary on time)

2-minimum wage for each category.

3-labors accommodation health and safety check

these are more important than what you guys are stating above.

because companies will always find a glitch and use it (they will start using ur contracts against you)

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

@britexpat , tell me what benefit companies can get from Khafala system ? ,

Why companies want to BAN people from working ?

What is the problem for a company if someone who want to leave and work for another company , where his life will be sound and secure ?

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

@britexpat

Just abolish it , let see what change companies are forced to make . what is the main reason why Kafala system still exists or neglecting calls from UN / HRW / FIFA ? .

By happygolucky• 8 years 7 months ago.
happygolucky

You are just repeating the same old nonsense "if you dont like it leave" in too many words ...not very mature IMO.

By one_shot• 8 years 7 months ago.
one_shot

is resigning not allowed here in qatar? why too much winning about it?

you are in the middle of choosing either to earn more money or to withstand and accept your managers' stupid orders , but after all you have the freedom to choose....right?

now if you chose to remain and get this money under slavery as you call it then i call you greedy :) and money lover.

this comment in general and it is a view point (not directed to any one )

By britexpat• 8 years 7 months ago.
britexpat

"They will be treated as Humans , not just slaves . Also they will get what they deserves rather than working under a slave master for half of their life for the same wages since they have started their job "

What guarantee is there that this will happen? If a person leaves to go to another employer, how will he ensure that he gets his final payment ?

Nothing to do with Kafalla. The problem still remains..

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

This world lacks compassion , I saw videos people killing each other like mad dogs in Syria

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

End of Story

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

http://www.gulf-times.com/opinion/189/details/371226/commitment--to-improve-worker%E2%80%99s-living-standards

By Good old joe• 8 years 7 months ago.
Good old joe

sounds like a story of bonded labourers from the history books. Some third world guys out of fear do not complain but what about well educated, smart and degree holders who meekly bend and bow to the system without uttering a word

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 2/5
sTrangR

I agree that the The Exit Permit is a good system for Qatar on the basis of security issues , But these rights must be taken out from Sponsors / Employers and must be done by Ministry of Labor Officials . Anyone who want to leave Qatar can be apply directly to MOL and given 3 days for the Sponsor to report if they have an issue regarding the person .

By Rider301• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rider301

If Qatar gets a sign that 2022 WC will be shifted to another location they will scrap kafala and all the bullsh*t systems here.

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

They will be treated as Humans , not just slaves . Also they will get what they deserves rather than working under a slave master for half of their life for the same wages since they have started their job .

By britexpat• 8 years 7 months ago.
britexpat

sTrangR: Please explain how it would benefit the labourers and improve their conditions.

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

The system is totally rubbish , and nobody have a control over it .

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

How exactly will scrapping the Kafalla system impact the working conditions of the labourers ?

isn't it like asking how banning slavery could help poor people to survive on this speck

By britexpat• 8 years 7 months ago.
britexpat

How exactly will scrapping the Kafalla system impact the working conditions of the labourers ? The simple fact is that people are queuing up to come work in Qatar. What is needed for the government to enforce existing laws and hold the companies / owners accountable .

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

If they would have changed the Ban system , NOC .These people might be forced to change their attitude towards workers and treat them like humans .That become worse so nobody wants this to happen .

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

@ kiwiinqatar1234

- if you do not like it then don't come to Qatar.

mAN , You must have born in 16th & 18th centuries where slavery was normal , you could make good slave master yourself .

By OrchidUday• 8 years 7 months ago.
OrchidUday

May be Qatari wants to change the rule of Sponsorship but some their consultant who are spreading their business on the reflection of Qatari. they get harm from these type of changes because their cheap worker became costly, how they feel the worker also have life and they want to survive as human. But hope Qatar govt. has make the labor friendly sponsorship rule as soon as possible.

By sTrangR• 8 years 7 months ago.
sTrangR

LMAO UN Official said WHAT ! , We only welcome developments in economy not in humanity

By Good old joe• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 5/5
Good old joe

The funny and strange thing with this system is that more often then not its the others, other nationalities in the HR dept. or in higher positions who abuse their positions in the organization to abuse this system in the name of the locals to play around with other employees and workers they cant get along with or are a threat to their positions in their company. Blaming the locals once in a while is fine but most of the dirty work and most of the time in the name of this system is done by other Asians, etc.. What would you say if workers are removed in the name of recession and six months later relatives and friends are recruited to fill the same positions

By fubar• 8 years 7 months ago.
fubar

The thing I find so annoying is that there are so many laws here to restrict what ex-pats can do (and that's fine - their country; their rules) but the laws that are supposed to be here to protect ex-pats from abuse, chiefly the labor law, is not enforced.

By just1s• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 2/5
just1s

This sponsorship system is totally one sided, its all about employers protection. what about the protection of an employee?

B2Gee, is correct, The Qatar Labor is really ineffective here most of the time its only favors to the locals / Company. There should be a way to protect the interest of two parties, as other members mentioned if the contract of the employee is completed he/she have the rights to move out or change the company or shall say I refused to continue or renew the contract and have the privilege to acquire a release or NOC from the employer. This way I strongly believed its fair for both parties.

By B2Gee• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
B2Gee

The sponsorship law has its positive and negative aspects. I understand it is a way for the government in controlling unwanted influx of expatriates that can impact o the resources of the country. The Qatar Labor laws have provisions that protect expatriate labor; however enforcement is very ineffective. Even management of companies have not read the laws, are ignorant of the law, and if they know the law they hide these fropm their employees. I am for the relaxation of the sponsorship law. For example, an expatriate employee should be given the right to transfer to another employer if and when his/her contract has been completed. Such should not be left to the discretion of management. It must be a mutual decision. In the absence of a formal association of HR practitioners in Qatar I recommend the initiative to gather all HR practitioners in the country and contribute their thoughts on this perennial issue.

By Molten Metal• 8 years 7 months ago.
Molten Metal

Happy, Correct , your comment made end of this discussion ... Tue, 12.11.2013 , 08.05 hrs .

By happygolucky• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
happygolucky

kiwi...you are contradictory in your own thoughts and perceptions...on one side you find it alright and then you also see many abusing it. And to say 'if you dont like, it dont come here' is as silly as it can be. Guess one will have nowhere to go then as every place has something which needs to be fixed.

By qatarliving0013• 8 years 7 months ago.
qatarliving0013

Better Be A Slave Bcoz U Know The Masters ..... In fact What we want is Friends Not Masters !

By nestor_samson• 8 years 7 months ago.
nestor_samson

there will always be a Slave and master and abuse and maltreatment. so dont come here if you are not ready.

By Molten Metal• 8 years 7 months ago.
Molten Metal

Kiwi , I support you .... plus Why they had to wait till today to point it out ? Tue, 12.11.2013 , 07.28 hrs

By Anonymous• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 5/5

I guess from a Qatari perspective the sponsorship system is a good way to keep tabs on who is coming and who is going, and where people are likely to be at any given time. Personally I don't have a problem with the system - if you do not like it then don't come to Qatar. Yes there will always be those who get suckered into coming with the proverbial carrot and then be left living life as a slave. But largely I think its perceived harshness from outsiders, such as Mr Francois Crepeau, is due to those employers who abuse the system (therefore abuse the employee's rights). The law itself is also partly to blame because it does not enforce the labour law policies that the government put in place to supposedly protect the workers in the first instance.

By walexy dammy• 8 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
walexy dammy

if i had know all this before i came down to Qatar,i would have try it at all.bcus the way they treat human being is bad,if i have my way i don't want they to host the world cup bye all means...

By reggiemely• 8 years 7 months ago.
reggiemely

qatar's labor law are good to read but in actions are worse.....you'll say to you self, I wish I never been in this country......

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