Qatar to pay back money to workers soon
Many people in Asia and other parts of the world pay money to middlemen to be given a chance to come to Qatar and make a living.
This has led to many people being exploited, with them working for a long time to pay back their dues.
Qatar had recently made moves to pay back recruitment fees of 30,000 migrant workers building its World Cup stadiums. The move has been rightly hailed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
By the end of this month, more than 5,500 people from across South Asia, a third of the workforce, will be reimbursed money they paid to middlemen who hired them to work in Qatar, reported Gulf Times.
The Qatar government is negotiating with its contractors in the hope that the rest of the construction workers, expected to reach 30,000 by 2019, can have their fees paid as well as part of a total £3.6m payout.
The ITUC described the move as ‘a positive step’ towards getting rid of a system which forces many vulnerable workers into debt bondage. The money is paid by the workers in their home countries to contractors who recruit them to work abroad.
Dealing with recruitment fees is part of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) drive to improve Qatar’s record on human rights.
Up until now, the payments are only reimbursed if the worker can produce receipts, which only happens on a handful of occasions.
Under the reforms, the burden of proof will instead shift onto contractors who will have to pay back workers their recruitment fees unless they can prove they made the payment.
As part of plans by Qatar to end the abuse, contractors will pay workers back the money over the period of their employment.
The amount they get will depend on their country of origin as figures can vary.
According to the International Labour Organisation a migrant worker living in India will on average have to pay $1,149 to the person recruiting him to go to Qatar. In Nepal it is $1,054 and in the Phillippines a worker pays $480.