‘2022 WC hosts’ Qatar to abolish ‘controversial’ sponsorship system for expats

Manama: Qatar, which will host the 2022 football World Cup, will reportedly abolish its controversial sponsorship system for foreign workers as a part of a new draft law, which is part of a range of proposed labour reforms.

The Gulf state has come under pressure to drop rules tying migrant workers to a single employer amid an influx ahead of the football tournament as international criticism mounts over their treatment.

According to Gulf News, the interior ministry said on its official Facebook page that the relationship will be redefined as between employee and employer instead of sponsor and sponsored, adding that the sponsorship system ‘will be replaced with a system based on employment contracts’.

Although officials gave no timeframe for when the new law might be implemented, the ministry mentioned that the reforms would also end the long-standing exit permit system that foreign workers obtain their employer’s consent for before leaving the country.

The statement said that the current system would now be replaced with an automated employment contract system, adding that exit permits for foreign workers will be issued by the ministry.

Passport confiscation, a widely used practice in the Gulf, will continue to be banned, with fines on employers who are found to confiscate passports increasing from 10,000 to 50,000 Qatari Rials, the report added.

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