Still Struggling: Migrant Construction Workers In Qatar During The Pandemic

March 2022
How did migrant laborers in the Middle East fare during the Covid-19 crisis and the run-up to the 2022 World Cup?

Our report assesses the treatment of millions of foreign construction workers in Qatar who have been essential to the country’s preparation for hosting the World Cup in November 2022. While the Qatari government provided adequate, free healthcare for migrant laborers, it did not invest comparable energy or resources in addressing long-standing economic issues. These include arbitrary wage reductions and delays and the widespread practice of forcing workers to pay for their own recruitment and transportation.

Migrant workers should not pay the costs of their own recruitment.

International labor law and Qatari national law forbid making migrant workers pay for their own recruitment and transportation. But while it has enacted certain labor reforms of late, the Qatari government does not act aggressively to make sure that employers cover recruitment costs. As a result, an overwhelming majority of workers shoulder these costs themselves, which requires them to seek high-interest loans. Pressure to repay this debt makes workers more vulnerable to exploitation by their employers.

With worldwide attention focused on Qatar as host of the World Cup, this is an ideal moment to push for change.

In our report, we advocate that World Cup organizers, corporate sponsors, and national soccer teams need to put pressure on the Qatari government to enact and enforce more protective worker-welfare laws. For their part, companies employing migrant laborers must shoulder the costs of recruiting their workforces and factor those costs into their bids for contracts.

Still Struggling: Migrant Construction Workers in Qatar During the PandemicDownload


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