Qatar: First systematic survey documents migrant workers' experience of hospitality and construction sectors

Author: Philippe Fargues, Nasra M. Shah & Imco Brouwer - Gulf Labour Markets and Migration (GLMM), Published on: 4 July 2019

"Working and living conditions of low-income migrant workers in the hospitality and construction sectors in Qatar: A survey among migrant workers through focus group discussions", 2019

What are the actual living and working conditions of the millions of low-income migrants in the country?… While anecdotal stories are plenty, no solid survey has been conducted so far to document practices detrimental to the migrants.

[Main survey findings]

  • Asked to evaluate their working conditions on a scale from 1 to 10, 22% interviewed migrants gave a score of 7 or more, 52% a score of 5 or 6, and 26% a score of 4 or below;
  • 67% (68% males and 66% females) stated that they were charged unofficial money by brokers in their home country to obtain their job;
  • 57% interviewed migrants (54% low-skilled and 60% mid-skilled) reported that their salary is not adequate while only 5% said it is;
  • Almost all the interviewed migrants (approx. 90%) were accommodated by their employers in camps or shared flats;
  • Knowing the actual conditions in Qatar, 43% interviewed migrants would definitely have come, 33% would have hesitated, 15% would not have come, and 9% did not participate;
  • Insufficient salary and poor living conditions were the major problems faced by migrants. When faced with problems, workers felt that little help was available to them. About 24% interviewed workers said they would not complain since they were afraid they might lose their job, or their visa might be cancelled.

The migrants’ main recommendations were to:

  • Better implement the law
  • Institute labour inspections by the government
  • Improve living conditions
  • Ensure a minimum wage, increase salary with experience, and pay overtime

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