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Article

29 Mar 2017

Author:
Rejimon Kuttappan, Thompson Reuters Foundation

Migrant workers blocked from leaving Qatar despite labor reforms

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Qatar has refused to allow scores of migrants from countries including India, Nepal and Bangladesh to return home, violating new labor reforms to improve workers' rights, activists and trade unions said...

A law making it easier for migrants to change jobs and leave the oil-rich Gulf state - where many of them have been recruited to build soccer stadiums ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup - came into effect in December. The Qatari government has defended the reforms to replace the "kafala" sponsorship system...Trade unionists and activists say migrant workers still require an exit permit from the government - and of the 760 or so permit requests made by migrants, more than a quarter have been denied since the law was passed on Dec. 13 last year...data reported by the state-run Qatar News Agency earlier this month said the newly-established Exit Permit Grievances Committee had rejected 213 requests made up until Feb. 15. No reason was given for the requests being denied. The International Labour Organization has given Doha until November to implement the reforms or potentially face an investigation into the forced labor of migrants in the lead up to hosting the World Cup.

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