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Amnesty International: "Treat Us Like We Are Human": Migrant Workers in Qatar

December 19, 2013

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"Migrant workers in Qatar face a range of abuses at the hands of their employers. In some of the cases investigated by Amnesty International, these abuses amount to forced labour and human trafficking. Some arrive to find that the nature of the work, their salaries, hours of work or conditions are very different to those they had been promised. Many migrant workers find their employers delay their pay or stop paying them at all."

There are some 1.35 million foreign nationals working in Qatar. Migrant workers now make up some 94 per cent of the total workforce in the country. The population of the country is growing at a remarkable rate, largely due to the recruitment of low-paid migrant workers to support infrastructure development. It is, therefore, more vital than ever that the laws, systems and practices in place to protect migrant workers' human rights are robust and effective. However, Amnesty International's research reveals that this is far from the case.

Migrant workers in Qatar face a range of abuses at the hands of their employers. In some of the cases investigated by Amnesty International, these abuses amount to forced labour and human trafficking. Some arrive to find that the nature of the work, their salaries, hours of work or conditions are very different to those they had been promised. Many migrant workers find their employers delay their pay or stop paying them at all, while the housing they are provided with can be shockingly poor. Employers have the power to stop migrants from changing jobs or leaving the country. This can leave workers trapped in the country. If employers do not renew residence permits, workers risk arrest as suspected "illegal" workers whenever they are stopped in the street by police.


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