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Qatar tops migrant population charts

Over four in five residents foreign workers, a large number from Nepal

NEWS, Business, Qatar tops migrant population charts

Qatar has the highest citizen-migrant ratio of any country according to the latest information compiled by the Migration Policy Institute on the top destinations for migrant workers.

The report reveals that the Middle East and North Africa region has been the highest migrant worker hiring region since 2010, with migrant workers claiming a majority in many of its countries.

In Qatar, 87% of its residents are foreign workers, with 1.3m of the 1.5m migrant members among its population. The largest proportion of these originate from South Asia.

Next in line in the rankings are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan, with 70%, 69% and 46% migrant workers, respectively, among their total population.

Of the various nationalities involved, around 600,000 or almost half of the migrant total are from Nepal, and are working in the construction industry or in low-skilled and manual jobs.

Half a million Nepalis emigrated in 2012, and according to the country's Department of Foreign Employment, and Qatar is the most popular destination (after recently over taking Malaysia), taking in 100,000 Nepalis a year.

These figures hold particular relevance in light of a recent 15-point pact signed between Nepal and Qatar with the aim of reducing the cheating of migrant workers bound for the Gulf country.

One of the most significant agreements secured by a nation supplying labour to the GCC, it was signed during joint-secretary level talks held in Doha, and refines a nine-year-old labour agreement.

According to the Himalayan Times, Qatar's Labour Ministry agreed to confirm whether information in a contract paper tallies with one verified by the Nepali embassy or Qatar's Chamber of Commerce.

The measure is part of a committment by Qatar to end the use of dual contract papers, where migrant Nepali workers agree to one set of terms but end up working to another upon their arrival.

Stakeholders say that at present the majority of the work contracts submitted at the Department of Foreign Employment do not match with the contract signed between the employer and workers.

Among the other measures, Qatar has agreed to provide insurance coverage to all Nepali workers after the holy month of Ramadan, and the Qatari Department of Foreign Employment will rescue workers put in work forcefully despite the expiry of work contracts, as well as agreeing to punish any companies concerned.

Companies not issuing identity cards to workers or not renewing their visa within three months will also face punishment, and Nepali migrant workers will be able to ask the Qatari Home Ministry to issue temporary identity cards.

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