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18 Dez 2023

Samindra Kunti, Forbes (USA)

Qatar: A year after the World Cup final, security guards still tell of confiscated passports, lowered salaries & remain unable to change jobs

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"Migrant workers endure Qatar's dark World Cup legacy,"


Mohammed, 36, told me that his salary was reduced after the World Cup and that he can't change job. He said: "The smallest reduction in wages is noticeable, but you only have two choices. You can accept it or you can say no, but then you won't have a job anymore. After the World Cup, there have been fewer opportunities and you can't just switch to another employer. If I do that, my current employer will charge me around $1,200, and that's pretty much all the money I'd get after five years of work in the company. The authorities say it's not legal, but that's the way it is."

… [Kelvin] worked at the Mexico team hotel during the World Cup. He says that after the World Cup he has to work more for less money. His salary has dropped by $50 to $490.

Protesting against the decision is an illusion, in his view. "You will get kicked out," says Kelvin. The hope of moving jobs is also futile. His employer demands at least $1000, he says. That’s illegal under Qatari law, but a widespread phenomenon that prevents workers from earning higher salaries and social mobility. Just like Mohammed, his passport has been confiscated by his employer. Only on paper do Kelvin and Mohammed enjoy wage protection and can they freely change jobs...

With the World Cup over, Qatar is no longer investing massively in infrastructure and the hospitality sector has slowed down, leading to a contraction of the labour market. It leaves workers often in a vulnerable position to protest against passport confiscation, wage theft and the need for a no objection certificate (NOC). They rarely get legal representation and help from human rights organizations is limited...

"The legacy is quite simple: thousands of lives ended or destroyed and FIFA enriched to the tunes of billions of dollars and the organization as a whole falling further within the ambit of control of authoritarian states," says Nick McGeehan, director of FairSquare. "Some people will point at positive aspects of the World Cup, but when you look at the human cost of the World Cup, everything else pales into tragic insignificance."…