Thousands of migrant workers have worked under alleged abusive labor practices in the preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to Amnesty International’s statement regarding Qatar’s new labor reforms.
The labor reforms were said to have been updated, with changes to the law coming into effect in 2018. However, these labor reforms have been halted with one year to go before the World Cup. Thousands of migrant workers have been subjected to exploitive practices during the preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to Amnesty International, who released a report.
Amnesty’s report stated that Qatar’s new labor reform laws were too complacent and did not effectively benefit migrant workers. They also disclosed that Qatar was not thoroughly investigating migrant workers’ causes of death and human rights violations. All of which occurred during the preparation for the World Cup in Qatar.
There were two laws passed in 2020, which advocated an end to restrictions that were imposed on migrant workers who wanted to leave Qatar or change jobs without their employer’s permission. Unsurprisingly, these laws resulted in exuberance from workers. However, the feeling did not seem to be mutual from an employer’s perspective. Multiple workers have come forward explaining that their employers have made leaving their job difficult, even with the new labor reforms in place. Employers demanded no-objection certificates (which are costly). They also withheld salaries and benefits. Thus, making it difficult for workers to leave their jobs, counteracting the constructiveness of the new labor reform laws.
In response to Amnesty’s report, Qatar released a statement whereby they stipulated that Amnesty failed to document an account from an estimated 242, 870 workers who have, according to the Qatar government, successfully left their jobs. Which was made possible by the barriers removed in the latest labor reform. The Qatar Government also stated that more than 400,000 workers benefited from increased salaries and financial incentives due to the updated labor reform laws that were implemented. Therefore, more than 96% of eligible workers benefitted from the updated Wage Protection System. Additionally, new visa centers effectively reduced exploitative practices which workers previously endured prior to entering Qatar.
Thus, the Qatar Government rejected the report made by Amnesty, which claimed that Qatar’s latest labor reform laws did not benefit migrant workers.
Amnesty International has stated that it fears that the fate of migrant workers will remain uncertain, specifically after the World Cup. In conjunction with this, the Football Association has urged Qatar to encourage lasting labor reforms, which are not complacent, before the World Cup kick-off. In order to ensure that the FA and UEFA’s positive legacy regarding labor reforms and the rights of migrant workers is not tarnished.
The Qatar Government did admit that they are committed to extensively engaging with international partners to improve the standard of working conditions for all workers in Qatar.