Qatar’s decision to repay recruitment fees of over 30,000 blue collar workers by 2019 has been well received. It was announced that the country will be reportedly paying QR19m over the next two years to workers.
It is being paid as compensation for recruitment and hardship fees which may have been paid in the past. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) informed that contractors will be reimbursing the workers as part of a ‘Universal Payment’ system.
The SC’s Workers’ Welfare Standards (WWS), the principles enshrined in all contracts relating to World Cup projects, prohibits the charging of recruitment fees.
Many of SC’s contractors employ legacy workers hired before the introduction of the WWS, which the Universal Payment initiative is designed to address.
“All too often, the very people who’ve left their homes to provide for their families are the ones exploited. The SC and its contractors have agreed on a mechanism to ensure that our workers are reimbursed for the hardships they may’ve endured when coming to Qatar to work,” SC Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi was quoted as saying.
“The significance to reimburse workers who paid recruitment fees shouldn’t be underestimated. Unethical recruitment is a global issue and an area many countries all over the world struggle to manage.
“We’ve been steadfast in our belief that this World Cup can be a catalyst for change, both in Qatar and in other parts of the world. Recruitment fees is a hugely complex issue, yet the SC and several of our contractors have agreed on a mechanism to ensure that our workers are reimbursed for the hardships they may’ve endured when coming to Qatar to work,” he said.
Meanwhile, HBK, the main contractor of the Lusail Stadium, has accepted to pay QR2.7m to 1500 workers in the form of monthly QR150 Special Project Allowance. The figure may be doubled in the next 12 months as the workforce is set to increase.
Other contractors included are Larsen & Toubro (Al Rayyan Stadium), Nakheel (training sites/Aspire Turf Nursery) Petroserv (Doha Port Project) and OCPs Twelvers and Manforce.
The commitment by these contractors in 2017 resulted in 1,700 workers equivalent to 10% of the SC workforce receiving a guarantee of QR3m in reimbursements.
One main contractor and six OCPs across SC portfolio have agreed to pay a further QR9m by the end of next year.