Football World Cup 2022 host Qatar, under global scrutiny over its alleged ill-treatment of migrant labourers, is to introduce a minimum wage for workers.
The gas-rich emirate has signed bilateral accords with 36 countries from which it draws most of its two-million-strong foreign workforce, to provide legal protection for workers headed to the Gulf.
The minimum wage initiative and the agreements were announced by Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, minister of administrative development, labour and social affairs, during a meeting with foreign diplomats. The announcements came on the eve of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting, which had warned Qatar to end abuse of migrant workers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ICTU) welcomed the move.
Qatar has long operated on a system called “kafala”, a strict work sponsorship scheme that forced foreign workers to get permission from their employer to change jobs, or even leave the country. Qatari officials announced an end to the kafala system in December 2016.