Qatar Implements Non-Discriminatory Minimum Wage Law for Migrant Workers

By EDD K. USMAN

Qatar issues law mandating new labor market reform.
His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar

(SDN) — Headed by His Highness Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Arab State of Qatar has just institutionalized a difficult act to follow that benefits all migrant workers, including over 300,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

This is the labor market reform that strongly protects migrant workers in the small Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nation. Qatari has 2.9 million population, plus around 2.0 million migrant workers.

SDN — Science and Digital News learned about this from the Embassy of Qatar in the Philippines under Ambassador Dr. Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Malky.

The new minimum wage law came into effect on March 20, 2021, effectively transforming the country’s labor market. Qatar has been putting in place a series of labor reforms in recent years.

According to the information from the Qatar Embassy, from henceforth all employees will be paid a minimum monthly wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals (equivalent to US$275). Before the new legislation, it was $205.

Qatar implements new labor market reforms.
Minister Yousuf Mohamed Al Othman Fakhroo of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs and minister of Administrative. Development, Labor and Social Affairs

Also mandated in the new legislation — unless provided by employers — are food allowance worth 300 riyals and housing allowance at 500 riyals.

The Qatari government has emphasized its its appreciation of the nearly 2.0 million expatriate and migrant workers driving its modernization and economic goals.

“One of the first priorities of the State of Qatar is to secure a decent life for expatriate workers, therefore the government is committed to reforming labor laws and all practices related to it in order to achieve a system appropriate to the needs of both workers and employers,” the government said.

“And based on the moral and human values it believes in, the State of Qatar appreciated the important role of expatriate workers in supporting the economic development in the country, and committed to provide a fair and effective work system that provides protection for all workers, and based on that the State of Qatar has undertaken many reforms in the labor market,” it added.

The reforms also included giving migrant workers “free movement” through the abolition of the “Kafala” system based on Law No. 19 since August 20, 2020.

Qatar Amb. to Philippines Dr. Ali Bin Ibrahim Al Malky

With free movement, “migrant workers can now change their jobs before the end of their contracts without the need to obtain a no-objection certificate from the previous employers, and in addition to canceling the exit visa, the law effectively abolishes the sponsorhip system ‘Kafala’ and marks the beginning of a new era for the Qatari labor market,” the government statement said.

With the labor market reform, the government established a basic minimum wage amounting to 1,000 Qatari riyals (approximately $274) which all workers can enjoy regardless of nationality or sector. This replaced the temporary basic minimum wage of 750 riyals (around $205).

Infographic on Qatari minimum wage.

“Under the new legislation, if the employer does not provide food or accommodation, he must provide allowances of 300 riyals ($82) for food and 500 riyals ($137) for accommodation, with a total of a minimum of 1,800 riyals ($494),” the government stressed. (✓)

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Featured image of a Doha, Qatar, night scene by and thanks to Kamal Darwish on Unsplash.

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