Qatar's progress in labor reform over the last 5 years

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Qatar’s labor reform measures have seen a number of improvements over the past five years. Amendments and changes came about as a result of a need for better services for workers as well as improving the overall standard of living in Qatar. 

Here are some of the changes that have taken place over the last five years: 

- In 2012, the government established a system for workers to register official complaints against their employers. The service came without a fee. 

- In 2013, Qatar increased the number of labor inspectors investigating workers’ housing and working conditions and cracking down on violators, to 400. 

- In 2014, a ministerial decision was issued to determine requirements for adequate housing for workers in accordance to international standards. 

- In 2015, the largest labor city in Qatar and the Gulf region was inaugurated in the Industrial Area. 

- In the same year, the Wage Protection System came into effect to regulate payment of wages in full and on time, enforcing fines up to QR 6000 per worker for violators. Consequences may also include a jail term of up to a month and the potential withdrawal of work permits. 

- In 2016, Al Hemaila Medical Center for workers was inaugurated. 

- Later in 2016, the widely criticized Kafala system was canceled, leading to a contract-based system between employers and employees.

- Earlier this year, the National Committee for Combatting Human Trafficking was established to prevent such cases. 

- A law was also issued this year regulating relationships domestic workers have with their employers. 

- Just last month, a draft law was ratified on the establishment of a fund for workers’ support and insurance. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social affairs is also reportedly in the process of implementing a minimum wage for workers. 

Here is an overview of some of the major developments Qatar has made in this realm: 

Qatar’s carefully scrutinized labor laws have constantly been undergoing modification and improvements, with the government implementing new methods to better the situation of migrant workers in the country, as well as abiding by international standards. These are all steps in the right direction. Just like any other country, there’s always room for improvement and we don’t think Qatar is going to stop any time soon. 

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