Qatar Kafala Reforms - 2022
Migrant workers in Qatar and the broader Gulf region faced issues during the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted the Qatar Government to take drastic measures to improve the conditions. Also for the proper hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the reforms were needed for the betterment of the workers working on this colossal project.
Apart from these two major events the Qatari Government had been striving to the change the existing Kafala system since the last seven years, and has made considerable strides towards improving the welfare of migrant workers.
Since 2014, the Qatar government has adopted a series of important labor reforms that aim to protect the rights of domestic and migrant workers alike. The reforms introduced in 2014 and 2016, didn’t fully safeguard employees’ right to work with changing jobs and mobility.
Renewed reform efforts through Qatar’s partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), started in 2017, after the organization found previous reform efforts unsatisfactory. Qatar is now discussing the possibility of establishing a permanent ILO office.
Under these new reforms Qatar dismantled the exit permits and NOC requirements for employees in 2018. It removed the exit permit requirement, and allowing foreign workers to enter and work freely within the Qatar. A year later, Ministerial Decree No. 95, issued on September 15th 2019, allowed domestic employees to leave the country after notifying their employers at least 72 hours prior to their departure.
In May 2021, Government Regulation No. 17 was issued, providing temperature regulation for those whose work must take place outside. The regulation states that workers should not perform any outdoor jobs between the hours of 10am and 3pm from June 1st to September 15th.
A significant development in Qatari labour law came with the adoption in January 2020 of Law No. 19, which allows migrant workers to switch jobs before the end of the contract without obtaining an NOC from their employer. The old Kafala system left foreign workers at the mercy of their sponsors when they seek work elsewhere. It was a key feature of the kafla system, which essentially bounds migrant workers to their sponsors or employers
Also in August 2020, the newer reforms raised the non-disciminatory minimum wage. This allows the minimum wage to reach QAR 1,000 (USD 276), with an additional QAR 300 (USD 83) allowance if the employer does not provide food, a QAR 500 (USD 138) allowance if the employer doesn’t provide housing, and a QAR 750 (USD 215) allowance if the employer fails to pay overtime.
Kashmiroverseas believes that these reforms now make Qatar a very favorable destination for Pakistani workers looking for a job in Qatar.
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