ILO: 'Give Qatar time to reform FIFA 2022 labour'

An International Labour Organisation committee acknowledged the Qatari government's labour reform measures, but admitted "certain challenges remain"

ILO acknowledged the Qatari government's labour reform measures. [Representational image]
ILO acknowledged the Qatari government's labour reform measures. [Representational image]

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said Qatar must enforce its anticipated new legislation from December if the country is to fulfill its labour commitments. 

An ILO team which visited the country earlier this month said any decision to appoint an ILO commission of inquiry should be put off for a year to allow reforms implementation. 

Qatar, which is building infrastructure for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, has witnessed the influx of numerous construction workers into the country since it was awarded the event's hosting rights. 

According to Arabian Business, ILO's report and recommendations will be debated at the organisation's Governing Body, spokesman Hans von Rohland said.

In its report, the ILO mission said it "acknowledges the recent concrete measures taken by the government and other interlocutors" it met in Qatar to improve migrants' working conditions. 

However, the report admitted "certain challenges remain, and the implementation of the measures to overcome them are still under way". 

The ILO team is led by Japanese Ambassador, Misako Kaji, and includes representatives of governments, employers, and worker groups.

The ILO mission, the second in two years, met the prime minister, ministers of labour and justice, the CEO of Qatar Petroleum and workers' groups, mostly from the Philippines and Nepal.

It visited sites including Khalifa Stadium, a key feature of Qatar's World Cup programme. 

"Concerns raised by migrant workers related to the payment of wages (non-payment, late payment and/or reduction of agreed wages), passport confiscation, long hours of work..., the non-renewal of their identity cards by the employer and difficulty in transferring sponsorship," ILO's report said.

Furthermore, the study reportedly added thousands of migrant workers were in accommodation that fell short of minimum standards, with 10-12 workers frequently sharing one small room, and unhygienic and poor kitchen and sanitary facilities.

Qatar's labour reforms include the introduction of a new law to abolish the kafala sponsorship system, which is infamous for practices such as passport confiscation and vulnerable contract conditions.  

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