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An example for coexistence

The Qatari society is a unique example of peaceful coexistence between different religions, faiths and cultures. Qatar is at the forefront of the countries that receive large numbers of foreign workers every year. The government of Qatar seeks to make every effort to offer the expatriates the opportunity to integrate and become part of Qatar’s diverse society.

Many international human rights agencies and organisations have expressed admiration and approval of the achievements of the Qatari model, as the best among the countries of the region in securing safety and comfort, and safeguarding the human rights of foreign workers.

The increasing number of foreigners coming to Qatar for employment over the past few years reflects the approval and trust of the countries that provide contract migrant labour, and the high level of political and economic stability, and underlines the proper working and living conditions of migrant workers in Qatar. Undoubtedly, expatriate workers in Qatar achieve mutual benefits through their efforts in realising economic growth in general, and the development in various fields in particular, as well as improving the situation of these workers and their families in their countries and developing their economy through transferring billions of dollars annually, according to World Bank estimates.

In line with its commitments, Qatar continues its efforts at the legislative and institutional levels to protect and promote all the rights of expatriate workers.

The Qatar National Vision 2030 ​​​ has been launched to serve as a clear roadmap for Qatar’s future. It aims to propel Qatar forward by balancing the accomplishments that achieve economic growth with the human and natural resources. This vision constitutes a beacon that guides economic, social, human and environmental development of the country in the coming decades. The vision is inclusive and helpful for all the citizens, as well as for all foreign residents of Qatar, in various aspects of their lives. ​

Qatar is looking forward to become an example in adopting a sound legal and ethical approach and commitment

The vision objective is to facilitate the targeted participation of expatriate labour, through the recruitment of the right mix of expatriate labour and retaining those who are outstanding among them.

This national vision encompasses the establishment of institutional arrangements to ensure the safety, and guarantee the rights of foreign workers, in line with the State of Qatar’s real appreciation of the role of the expatriate work force as an important productive and effective factor in the national development.

The government of Qatar established a package of policies and procedures with legislative amendments with the aim of providing decent and organised work conditions for citizens, and foreign workers alike.  The policies’ target is to promote balanced and productive working relations between the employer and employees, with employment contracts based on mutual agreement and transparency that preserves the rights of both parties.

There is no doubt that the abolition of the sponsorship system for employment in Qatar unequivocally affirms the will of the state, and its resolution to protect the rights of expatriate workers. By the end of 2016, Law No. 21 of 2015 came into effect in order to regulating the entry and exit of foreign workers, after completely abolishing the sponsorship system, going beyond amendments, changes or editing. A number of legal and practical measures are in place to deal with issues of delay in affecting payments and receiving wages.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, has recently approved a law for the regulation of domestic labour, setting daily working hours at home for a maximum of 10 hours. The new law binds the employer with conditions to pay workers properly, and prohibits the recruitment of workers under the age of 18 or over 60 years.

It should be noted that the Qatari cabinet has approved a draft law granting permanent residence permits to non-Qataris giving outstanding services to the State, which allows them to benefit from a number of privileges, with equal treatment similar to Qatari nationals, in terms of education and health care in public hospitals. It gives many the priority, after Qatari citizens, in recruitment in the military and civil service.

Qatar is looking forward to become an example in adopting a sound legal and ethical approach and commitment, in dealing with the rights of foreign workers, improving their working conditions, and helping them to improve their standard of living, in a clear recognition of their invaluable service to the country.

Ali Saad Al-kharji is Ambassador of Qatar.

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