According to a statement by Amnesty International (AI), thousands of migrant workers in Qatar are unpaid, although the country has repeatedly promised to improve workers’ rights before the 2022 World Cup finals.
According to the report, hundreds of migrant workers who were hired by three construction and cleaning companies were forced to return home without any pay. It is believed that the true scale of the problem could be much larger. The State Department estimates that in 2018 alone, more than 6,000 workers submitted complaints to the new Labor Dispute Settlement Committees in Qatar.
Since March last year, AI said more than 2,000 people who worked for Hamton International, Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad and United Cleaning sought justice after months of being stopped by these companies. The reason given by the companies was financial difficulties and then shut down, then ended their contracts. These companies undertake a number of construction projects and clean-up contracts, mostly for constructions serving the 2022 World Cup finals (scheduled to take place from November 21 to December 18, 2002).
At least 1,620 workers filed a complaint with the Labor Dispute Resolution Committee. Afterwards, some people received a portion of the salary that these companies owed, but in exchange for withdrawing their lawsuits, most workers went home empty-handed and received no compensation. AI has written to all three companies to present what they have discovered, but received no response.
“Despite the promise of significant reforms made by Qatar before the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for users. Unethical employers. Migrant workers often come to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life. But in return, many people had to return home penniless after taking months to claim their salaries, while receiving little help from systems that were supposed to protect them.
Migrant workers in Qatar often face a difficult choice between a lengthy and often hopeless quest for justice, then return to their families without the money they need to care for them. We are calling on the Qatari authorities to fulfill all of its promises and to end the reality of such shameful labor. If Qatar is serious about fulfilling its promises to improve the rights of its workers, they must arrange for additional judgments to ensure that the lawsuits are handled quickly, fully paying the budget for the compensation fund, and ensure companies that violate the law face justice.”
Qatar’s Department of Administrative, Labor, and Social Affairs said it has facilitated negotiations with many settlements, as well as providing food and generators for workers’ camps. Although Qatar’s law stipulates that the Commission is responsible for making a decision within 6 weeks after receiving the complaint, AI realized that the workers had to wait 3 to 8 months. During that time, they had to live without income in workers’ camps, without enough food and water, facing the difficult choice of returning home or continuing to seek justice.