Qatar: Local World Cup organiser working with contractors to pay back recruitment fees to migrant workers

Author: Anthony Harwood, Global Construction Review, Published on: 17 March 2018

By the end of March more than 5,500 people from across South Asia, a third of the workforce, will be reimbursed money they paid to middlemen who hired them to work in [Qatar]. The Doha government is negotiating with its contractors in the hope that the rest of the construction workers, expected to reach 30,000 by 2019, can have their fees paid as well as part of a total £3.6m ($5m) payout. The ITUC described the move as “a positive step” towards getting rid of a hated system which forces many vulnerable workers into debt bondage. Recruitment fees have become a thorny issue for Qatar and dealing with it is part of the Supreme Committee’s drive to improve the tiny Gulf state’s record on human rights... Up until now, the payments are only reimbursed if the worker can produce receipts, which only happens on a handful of occasions. Under the reforms, the burden of proof will instead shift onto contractors who will have to pay back workers their recruitment fees unless they can prove they made the payment...

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