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22 May 2018

Qatar: 1,200 migrant workers at HKH General Contracting without pay for several months; no response from companies

HKH General Contracting has reportedly failed to pay 1,200 migrant workers their salaries since September 2017. According to Migrant Rights, employees living in company housing lost access to running water and electricity for several weeks. They have been forced to rely on donations from charities for food supplies and diesel to power their generators. HKH has also allegedly charged its staff visa renewal fees, in violation of Qatari law. Some workers have not had a valid visa for the past year, putting them at risk of detention.

Since March 2018, employees have submitted various complaints to the police, relevant ministries, local courts, and National Human Rights Committee. The authorities have responded by giving verbal assurances to the workers, while court hearings have been postponed several times. The case has now been referred to the ILO, which recently opened its project office in Qatar.

HKH reportedly has three pending projects, which have since been halted. These are: the maintenance of Kahramaa (the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation) substations, a project for Al Aqaria (Qatar Real Estate Investment company) in Al Khor, and a tower for Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Real Estates in Doha’s West Bay.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited HKH and one of its clients Al Aqaria to respond to these allegations, neither company has responded.