Qatar to abolish Exit Visa system by 2019

UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) announced that Qatar will officially abolish its Exit Visa system for all foreign workers by the end of 2019.

Amnesty International (human rights group) report accused that Qatar, which will be hosting 2022 World Cup was failing to implement reforms and stop widespread labour abuse. As a result Qatar revived its pledge to reform labour section, and introduced a minimum monthly minimum of 750 riyals ($206) and also agreed to work closely with ILO.

Background

In September 2018, Qatar approved legislation to scrap “kafala”, and by October 2018 it went into force for all but 5% of a company’s workforce (mostly senior positions). By end of 2018 it was eliminated for majority of workers, and in 2019 it will be extended to all remaining categories of worker.

About Kafala system

It is a Sponsorship system which regulates status of migrant workers. It is used to monitor migrant labourers, by requiring all unskilled labourers to have an in-country sponsor mostly their employer who is responsible for their visa and legal status. This tying of migrant workers’ visas with employers leads to requiring prior consent of their employer before changing jobs or leaving, which further leads to their exploitation.

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