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Qatar is an Asian country with an estimated population of two million people. Surprisingly, the country qualified to host 2022 Football World Cup event, edging out competitors such as America, Japan, Korea and Australia. The country is located in part of the world that experiences some of the highest temperature ranges, an issue that has triggered calls for rescheduling the date for the international football event. The general treatment of the labor force in Qatar has drawn labor relations and human right activists’ attention. It is argued that the workers are operating in sub-human environments. Workers’ mistreatments and being offered poor working terms form the main focus of this paper.
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According to Amnesty International, immigration rate has shot up to over 94 percent with many people looking towards acquiring jobs in the construction sites. The major countries supplying these immigrants include Nepal, India, Parkistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (Human Rights Watch, 2012). The population of immigrants is reported to be the highest ever in comparison to the host population. The fact that most of the people involved in the construction will be immigrants is a major challenge on Qatar preparations. These immigrants face a challenge of adapting into the harsh weather conditions of Qatar, where temperatures can shoot up to 40 degrees Celsius. In addition, the problem of the language barrier also becomes an impediment towards improving working conditions.
A report by human Rights Watch, 2012, indicated that most of the laborers are acquired through contracting firms and sponsorship. The terms agreed to during negotiations, right in the laborers own countries are highly appealing drawing a lot of interested people to join the convoy. However, the conditions and terms met on the ground are completely different from the expectations of many immigrants. The level of negotiation with the sponsor or the contractors are further violated on the notion that the employee cannot manage to reverse the shipping terms dueto the high cost of travel charges. Therefore, workers are paid much less than the terms indicated in the contract. In addition, they are denied the right of free association and forced to work for extra hours without compensation. One of the complaints common among the laborers is restriction from the contracting authorities to access drinking water. Failure to access water in the hot weather conditions tortures the laborers resulting in severe dehydration and death. According to a report by Rannveing, 2013, extrapolations of the death towards the completion of the contraction of the world cup venues will reach at least 40,000 employees, unless something is done to reverse the trend.
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Sponsors abuse the right of having a collective and willing bargain for wages, forcing workers to accept sponsor's terms of salaries (Rannveig, 2013). Despite working for over eight hours a day, laborers are paid between USD 6 to 11. In addition, most of the employers charge the employees highly on issues of visa, food, housing, insurance, and security. These deductions severely reduce the wages and the workers are left with almost nothing to cash from their hard labor. Moreover, laborers have complained of contractors withholding their pay for months, yet they are required to report to work daily with extraneous allowance or compensation not something considered by the employees. The minimal wages, withheld salaries, and extra deductions results in poor living conditions of the workers, something close to slavery of forced labor (Amnesty International, 2012).
The free will of laborers to remain in Qatar if inhibited by the contractors who retain visa and fail to comply in helping dissatisfied workers get back into their countries. Part of the sponsorship requirement of the law is that the sponsor should act on behalf of the sponsored person in meeting visa requirements. However, most employees discover that their visa registration or permits back home are undermined forcing them to prolong their stay in Qatar despite the deplorable working conditions. Moreover, employeees are restricted from changing employers or changing jobs to those perceived to offer greener pastures. All these issues surrounding work migration are grave violations of the labor requirements and regulations. Therefore, unless something is done to reverse the situation, employees in Qatar will be mistreated for long, a situation that may hamper Qatar’s dream of hosting a successful World Cup competition come 2022 (Human Rights Watch, 2012).
Morgan, Lim, Xie & Beier (2012) identified that workers were being exploited by their sponsors during recruitment. Their report indicated that laborers were paying as much as USD 3,651to the recruiting agencies to secure their jobs. Most of the laborers who are poor back in their countries acquire this money from loans that will require them to foot a lot of their earnings back to repaying the loan. In addition, the traveling expenses are also met through paying loans that require the employees to get into agreement with their bank on how to clear the loans. The loan issue also touches on ensuring that adequate family support is available for the family members left behind. Therefore, when the job’s terms are interfered with for the disfavor of the laborer, the repercussions are far cutting than just the life and situations in Qatar. Most of these people are family breadwinners or they have obligations in their family to meet; hence, mistreating them can be translated to have implications back in their countries of origin. Intriguingly, the Qatar labor regulations do not condone most of these mistreatments. For instance, the charge fees during recruitment is prohibited in Qatar, yet it goes unnoticed due to poor monitoring (Human Rights Watch, 2012).
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Poor evaluation and monitoring of the workers in their working conditions in the major cause of exploitation. Whereas the Qatar government prohibits oppression and violation of human rights, the government has done little to ensure the force of the law is felt by the common man in the construction sites (Morgan, Lim, Xie & Beier, 2012).
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