Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: Qatar’s New Labour Laws)

Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Current Affairs Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination

Topic: Qatar’s New Labour Laws

Qatar’s New Labour Laws

Why in News?

  • Recently, Qatar has brought about a change in its labour laws, scrapping rules requiring migrant workers to take their employers’ permission before changing jobs, and setting the monthly minimum wage at about $274 (1000 Qatari Riyals), an increase of over 25 per cent.

Ease in Changing Jobs

  • The country has dismantled its old and highly criticised ‘Kafala’ (Arabic word for sponsorship) system, which required workers to take the consent of their employers before switching jobs.
  • With the new announcement, workers in Qatar now have the freedom to change jobs without obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) first.
  • According to the new rules, either party must provide one month written notice in the first two years of the contract or two months' notice beyond the second year of the contract.
  • The concerned ministry will be working with employers to update all employment contracts where workers earn less than the amount established by the new law (minimum wage).

Minimum Wages Upgraded

  • The second reform involves increasing the minimum wage by 25 per cent to $274 (1000 Qatari Riyals). The new minimum wage, which comes into effect in six months, is non-discriminatory and applies to all workers.
  • In addition to the minimum wage, the ministry has also announced the provision of 500 riyals ($137) for accommodation and 300 riyals ($82.2) for food if those expenses are not provided as part of the contract.
  • The new laws have been welcomed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) which described the announcement as a "huge milestone in labour reform agenda for the state of Qatar".

Much Needed Reforms

  • Qatar is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup and in the run-up to the sporting event that is viewed by more than half of the global population, the country has faced flak for its labour laws, seen by many as being exploitative of migrant labourers.
  • Qatar is the first country in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to announce permanent, minimum wage for non-citizens and offer them flexibility in changing jobs. ( The Middle Eastern country is heavily dependent on foreign labour; there are over 6,30,000 Indian migrants in Qatar.
  • ILO said that the introduction of the non-discriminatory minimum wage would affect over 400,000 workers in the private sector and will increase remittances in the workers’ country of origin.

Shift in Focus

  • The amendments come as the country continues to face a scathing attack from across the world for exploiting its labour force. Thousands of migrant workers, including those building stadiums for the world cup, are forced to work in potentially life-threatening conditions, activists and international NGOs have alleged.
  • Foreign workers account for 95% of Qatar’s workforce and about 90% of its population.
  • As Qatar is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, it wants to attract more labour, specially skilled and educated.
  • Qatar wants to create a competition for talent which will be healthy for the local market, even at the risk of driving poor performers out of business or pitting them against foreign competitors