The event brought together different stakeholders from Qatar including Qatar’s Minister of Labour HE Dr. Ali Bin Smaikh Al Marri, as well as Dr. Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Public Health. The SC was represented by Mohammad Al Hajri, Compliance and Audit Director of the Workers’ Welfare Department, who shared the SC’s on-going progress and commitment towards workers’ welfare.
“The SC recognises the immense contribution of our migrant workforce in building our world-class stadiums. At the peak of construction, we welcomed over 30,000 migrant workers from across the world, and since day one, we have been working hard to ensure every individual working on our projects is treated with utmost respect and dignity,” said Al Hajri.
At the heart of the SC’s work to ensure the rights of migrant workers are the Workers’ Welfare Standards, established in 2014. The standards are embedded in the SC tendering process and are contractually binding.
“They protect our workers throughout their time with us – from recruitment to repatriation – covering critical areas such as recruitment and contracts, wages, accommodations, access to remedy, and health and safety,” added Al Hajri.
During the event, Al Hajri discussed several key initiatives that have been put in place to protect the rights of those migrant workers that have contributed to the delivery of the first FIFA World Cup™ to take place in the Middle East and Arab world. One of the SC’s most ground-breaking initiatives was the launch of the SC’s Universal Reimbursement Scheme to combat the illegal practice of charging workers recruitment fees. The majority of migrant workers globally, and many in Qatar, have paid recruitment fees, but they are unable to provide any proof – hindering reimbursement by their employers.
“Our solution was to transfer the burden of proof away from the employee and on to the employer through the SC’s universal reimbursement scheme. As a result, 266 contractors have agreed to reimburse approximately QAR 103.95 M to 49,286 SC and non-SC workers over a 36-month period. To date, QAR 82.35 M has been reimbursed, and as a testament of the Qatar 2022 legacy in action, 11 of our contractors have extended this scheme to cover 18,066 non-SC workers,” said Al Hajri.
At the event, the SC also recognised the importance of worker representation and giving workers a voice, for which it has established a multi-tier grievance mechanisms platform to empower workers and provide them with access to remedy. These include Workers’ Welfare Forums – the SC’s flagship grievance platform, worker interviews as well as a dedicated Grievance Hotline for workers to report issues anonymously.