In line with the recent laws and reforms that the State of Qatar has put in place to improve labour migration governance for temporary contractual workers, an online meeting was held between the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s mission in Qatar and the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking on 18 December, International Migrants Day.
According to recently published government statistics, there were over 2 million migrant workers in Qatar in 2020.
Last August, the State of Qatar announced new measures effectively dismantling the sponsorship system, enacting new laws to remove the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) that, previously, workers were required to obtain from an employer if they wished to change jobs. Under the new law, workers are allowed to change employers freely under certain conditions.
Qatar has also introduced a national minimum wage which applies to workers in all sectors, including domestic workers. The minimum wage is expected to come into effect in March 2021. The minimum wage has been set at QAR 1,000 per month (the equivalent of USD 275) as a basic wage, QAR 500 per month (USD 137) allocated for accommodation expenses and QAR 300 per month (USD 82) for food, unless the employer already provides adequate food or accommodation for the employee or domestic worker. Previously, Qatar had also made illegal certain acts such as the confiscation of workers passports and identity documents, and charging of illegal recruitment fees to workers.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss ways to increase cooperation and develop new partnerships to build the capacity of national cadres on counter-trafficking. This falls under the Qatari government’s efforts to support ongoing reforms and goes in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Qatar National Development Strategy.
Both parties agreed to step up cooperation to combat human trafficking in all its facets. This will be done through a new project that targets representatives from various entities to create a national specialized team. Both parties recognized the need for a strong awareness-raising component that will inform the general public about acts and behaviors that violate national laws and regulations.