Labour Rights and the
Qatar World Cup 2022
David Harris shares some information about the human
right atrocities in Qatar in preparation for 2022
Five years ago, Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 World
Cup. The country will spend an estimated US$100 billion
on infrastructure in preparation.
Migrant workers in Qatar comprise 80 percent of the population.
Even at those numbers, the migrant worker community is acutely
vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The prohibition on trade
unions, the kafala system of sponsorship-based employment,
illegal recruitment fees, and the routine conﬁscation of passports
expose migrant workers to extremely inhuman conditions.
The kafala sponsorship system creates a situation where
migrant workers’ legal residence depends on the
employer as the sponsor. Workers usually pay extremely
high recruitment fees, and employers regularly conﬁscate
their passports when they ﬁnally arrive in Qatar.
Workers can become undocumented when employers
report them as having absconded, or when they fail to
pay to renew workers’ annual ID cards. A lack of proper
documentation exposes workers to the risk of arrest,
detention, and deportation.
Migrant workers commonly report that employers fail to
pay their wages on time - if ever. They are also
prohibited from changing jobs without the sponsoring
employer’s consent and with express permission of the
Migrant workers in Qatar must obtain an exit visa from
their sponsor in order to leave Qatar. This all, effectively,
reduces their personhood to indentured servitude.
Migrant workers are not permitted to unionize or strike,
although they constitute as much as 99% of the private
sector workforce in Qatar.
Migrant workers also often suffer from inhuman living conditions.
Many live in cramped, unsafe, and unsanitary conditions -
especially those who are forced to work without documentation.
The Guardian reported last year that Nepalese migrant
workers die at a rate of one every two days. In total, the
total Qatar death toll of workers from Nepal, India and
Bangladesh at nearly 1,000 in 2012 and 2013.
Human Rights Watch concludes that Qatar should
reform its regulatory and legal framework to protect its
critical and suffering migrant worker population.