Hundreds of migrant workers in Qatar have gone without pay and many were forced to return to their home countries without compensation, despite recent reforms intended to improve worker rights, a report from Amnesty International said on Thursday.
Since being named host of World Cup 2022, Qatar has come under fire for what rights groups describe as poor labour conditions. It has responded by enacting a broad reform programme to guard worker rights and improve its image abroad.
The Gulf state relies on about 2 million migrant workers for the bulk of its labour force, mainly from Asian countries like Nepal, India and the Philippines.
It has scrapped exit visas for most workers, implemented a minimum wage, and established dispute resolution committees to fast-track complaints of unpaid wages.
But a new report from Amnesty International describes how hundreds of workers still can’t recover unpaid salaries, despite the resolution committees.
“Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, Stephen Cockburn.
Responding to the report, Qatar said it continues “to work with NGOs, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), to ensure that these reforms are far-reaching and effective,” according to a statement from its government communications office.