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21 Nov 2022

Pete Pattisson, The Guardian (UK)

Qatar 2022: Migrant workers working in transport, security & food delivery will facilitate every aspect of fans' stay

Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Qatar

"From taxi drivers to security guards: the migrant workers in Qatar who football fans might meet," 19 Nov 2022

It is a World Cup of superlatives: the most expensive, the most controversial – and it will be delivered by perhaps the most diverse workforce.

During your stay you in Qatar, you are likely to interact with more nationalities than there are teams in the World Cup. That begins the moment you step off the plane.

As you walk through Doha’s immaculate Hamad International airport almost everyone you meet – from cleaners in the toilets and security guards on patrol, to helpers guiding you through immigration – will be a migrant worker, as 95% of Qatar’s working population is from overseas...

There is one group of workers you may not see much of: the low-wage construction labourers who built the airport you arrived at, the roads you drive along and the hotel you stay in. Much construction has been put on hold for six months due to the World Cup and thousands of workers, like Baburam, have been sent home.

Back in Nepal, he says he is now in a worse condition than when he left for Qatar because he was sent back before he was able to repay his recruitment debt. “The workers are not getting any benefits. They are being sent home because of the World Cup,” says Baburam. “Our family’s situation was already bad and now its even worse. Whatever we had before we’ve lost.”