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14 Dec 2016

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

What do Qatar's kafala reforms mean for company action on migrant rights?

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Amidst contention over the impact of Qatar’s kafala reforms on the lives of migrant workers, companies must look to international standards to ensure the rights of their migrant workforce.

In 2016, we invited 55 construction companies to participate in a survey on migrant rights in their Qatar operations.[5] The responses yielded important observations on the current status of corporate compliance with international labour standards and action on freedom of movement. Of the 55 companies we contacted, only 13 responded, and less than 25% had a publically available human rights commitment that referenced international standards and principles on human rights and labour.

The analysis of the survey responses revealed some examples of better practice, but overall there is far more that the construction sector can do to meet international expectations on transparency and freedom of movement for migrant workers...scrutiny of the sector and its business partners by international institutions, governments, media and civil society that will not end with these reforms.