Qatar raises minimum wage to 1,000 riyals, lifts restriction on changing jobs

KATHMANDU: Qatar, which is the major destination for migrant workers in Nepal, has raised the minimum wage for unskilled workers by 25 percent to 1,000 riyals (around Rs 30,000).

It has also removed the mandatory rule that requires the employer’s consent to change jobs. The Gulf Cooperation Council nation announced the changes to its labor laws on Sunday.

This landmark announcement by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) is the latest in a series of labor reforms being made by the country where treatment of migrant workers and its human rights record have been under the spotlight since it was awarded the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Under Qatar’s ‘kafala’ (Arabic word for sponsorship) system, migrant workers needed to obtain their employer’s permission – a no-objection certificate (NOC) – before changing jobs, a law that rights activists said tied their presence in the country to their employers and led to abuse and exploitation.

With the announcement, migrant workers can now change jobs before the end of their contract subject to a notice period.

“Either party must provide a written notice one month prior to the change if it is within the first two years of the contract period or two months prior if the notice is being given after the second year of the employment contract,” MADLSA said in a statement.

It added that the ministry will be ‘working with employers to update all employment contracts where workers earn less than the amount established by the new law (minimum wage), which will come into force after six months of its publication in the official gazette’.

In addition to the minimum wage, the ministry has also announced a provision of 500 riyals ($137) for accommodation and 300 riyals ($82.2) for food if those expenses are not provided as part of the contract.

The new laws have been welcomed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) which described the announcement as a ‘huge milestone in labor reform agenda for the state of Qatar’.


Fiscal Nepal |
Monday August 31, 2020, 02:51:25 PM |

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