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Migrant hotel workers in the Gulf: What are hotels doing to prevent labour abuse?

In recent years, Qatar and the UAE have sought to diversify their economies and prepare to host international mega-events World Cup 2022 and the Dubai Expo. Migrant labour forms the backbone of hotels’ efforts to accommodate guests but across the region and across industries, workers are subject to a range of labour abuses including exploitative recruitment practices, delayed or non-payment of wages, health and safety violations, poor living conditions, and restrictions on fundamental freedoms of movement, association and expression. Since 2016, we have surveyed international hotel brands on their steps to safeguard workers in their Qatar and UAE operations.

In 2018 (following a 2017 pilot), the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre surveyed 17 international hotel companies on their approach to safeguarding the rights of migrant workers in Qatar & the UAE. Our research found a stark contrast between hotel chains' public commitments on human rights and how these are enforced in Qatar and the UAE.

In 2021, the Resource Centre again surveyed international hotel brands on their approach to migrant workers’ rights ahead of the Qatar World Cup, including on conducting adequate human rights due diligence and engaging with business partners – property owners, franchisees and suppliers – to do the same. The survey also asked brands about their response to the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how they safeguarded workers’ rights in the crisis. Following publication of the report, non-responding company Millennium & Copthorne Hotels submitted a response to the survey on 30 September 2021.

In July 2022, we published a follow-up surveylooking at how brands are responding to the risk of exploitative recruitment of workers into their hotel operations.

This database allows users to explore and compare companies' reported action in key risk areas, including recruitment, payment of wages and freedom of association, and to find out which companies failed to respond.

For further information on our Gulf work, see here.

El efecto de Encuesta de hoteles del Golfo

Encuesta de hoteles del Golfo ha sido referenciado en artículos de noticias e informes en nuestra página web.

Checked Out: Migrant worker abuse in Qatar's World Cup luxury hotels

Read our 2021 briefing

Inhospitable: How hotels in Qatar & the UAE are failing migrant workers

Read our 2019 briefing