24/11/2020

HRW Qatar report highlights ongoing wage theft and lack of protections, despite promises | Migrant-Rights.org

the report. A backward-looking annual report does little to address the spe
challenges raised by the workers.”
This statement admits – perhaps unintentionally – that the country is unab
to provide e ective mechanisms for workers to raise their complaints, and
the WPS and labour inspection failed to identify these violations. That thes
issues must be brought to the attention of authorities on the ground in ‘rea
time’ by organisations outside of the country re ects the ine ectiveness of
local processes.

Fi y-nine workers said their wages had been delayed, withheld, or not paid; 9 workers said they had not been paid
because employers said they didn’t have enough clients; 55 said they weren’t paid for overtime even though they
worked more than 10 hours a day; and 13 said their employers had replaced their original employment contract with
one favoring employers. Twenty said they didn’t receive mandatory end-of-service bene ts; and 12 said employers
made arbitrary deductions from their salaries.
HRW also underscores the progressive delays in salaries, which invariably results in total non-payment, as an
indicator of how businesses manoeuver the WPS to their advantage.
The report mentions that “Wage abuses are also driven by deceptive recruitment practices both in Qatar and in the
workers’ home countries that require them to pay between about US$700 and $2,600 to secure jobs in Qatar. By the
time workers arrive in Qatar, they are already indebted and trapped in jobs that o en pay less than promised. Human
Rights Watch found that 72 of the workers interviewed had taken loans to pay recruitment fees. Business practices,
including the so-called “pay when paid” clause, worsen the wage abuse. These practices allow subcontractors that
have not been paid to delay payments to workers.”
Worker testimonies demonstrate the di culties they face in accessing justice in Qatar.
“Since August 2019, I have been waiting for money,” said a 34-year-old engineer who went to labor court over 7 months
of unpaid wages and who has been borrowing money from friends in Qatar to send to his family in Nepal. He rst went
to court a year ago and is still waiting for his payments: “I am starving since I don’t even have money for food. How
will I pay back my loans if I don’t get my salary [through the legal process]? Sometimes I think suicide is my only
option.”
The report also carries the rst-person account of a Kenyan worker struggling to recoup his wages, which can be read
here.

https://www.migrant-rights.org/2020/08/hrw-qatar-report-highlights-ongoing-wage-theft-and-lack-of-protections-despite-promises/

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