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Qataris want tighter sponsorship laws 5, January 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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A survey undertaken by Qatar University has shown that Qataris want a tightening of sponsorship rules.

Currently there are roughly 300,000 Qataris and around 1.4 million expatriates resident in Qatar. The system of sponsorship known as the kefala system is widely criticized by human rights organizations as grossly unfair and restrictive. Under its aegis salaries for lower paid workers are often late and gratuities often go unpaid. To offer another example, only yesterday I saw a poll of expatriates which highlighted their number one complaint: the need to obtain exit visas.

This finding clashes with recent trends in the Gulf. Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain have all recently announced that they plan to – to varying degrees – overhaul their kefala systems. Despite strenuous objections from business lobbies within the countries, some changes have been made.

This aspect was one that was ruthlessly highlighted by Western press after Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2022. As I have said before, using the enormous carrot of the World Cup funds, if the Qatari government can spread this largesse over enough of the population and throughout the business community, ‘the World Cup’ can – hopefully – be used as a quid pro quo to eek out compromises and changes from Qataris.