19 February 2015, Aljazeera America
Qatar announced Thursday that it was introducing labor law reforms to aimed at ensuring that thousands of migrant workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup are paid on time.
The news comes months after the U.N. urged the Gulf nation to amend its labor practices and only a few days before FIFA officials are expected in Doha to finalize the date for the world’s biggest soccer tournament, which workers rights groups and activists have demanded be denied to the country.
Under the reforms, which were approved by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, employers will be required to pay migrant workers their wages through direct bank transfers so as to ensure payment accountability. Furthermore, wages will be deposited either bi-weekly or monthly, depending on workers’ professions.
“The scale of abuse in Qatar as it builds a dozen 2022 World Cup stadiums and $200 billion worth of infrastructure is immense: already, hundreds of South Asian migrant workers who toiled in the heat and dust of a highly abusive construction sector have been sent home in body bags, with authorities ignoring calls for investigations into their deaths,” HRW said in its report.
It is not yet clear when the labor reforms will take effect, but employers will have six months to comply. If they do not, responsible parties could face up to one month in prison and a fine of about $1,650.