Qatar mulls scrapping sponsorship system
Manama, June 5, 2009
Qatar may soon become the second country in the Arabian Gulf after Bahrain to scrap the sponsorship system, according to a media report.
'The option to scrap the sponsorship system in Qatar has been a subject of study for a long time, and there are reports now being prepared by the ministries of interior and labour and social development,' prime minister and foreign minister Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Bin Jabr Al Thani was quoted as saying by a local Arabic newspaper.
'An ad-hoc committee has been set up to look into this issue so that it agrees on a decision that does not harm foreign workers and our citizens in assuming their responsibilities towards the sponsorship system,' Shaikh Hamad said.
Shaikh Hamad said that there was a need for an in-depth study. 'What Bahrain did was a great move, and we are studying the Bahraini law so that we can make the appropriate decision.'
Bahrain in May said that it would on August 1 implement a new labour law that allows foreign workers to switch jobs without the consent of the employers.
The move sparked praise by embassies accredited in Manama, international labour organisations and rights activists.
It has, however, been resisted by the business community, several members of parliament and political formations on the grounds that it would harm the local economy.
Majid Al Alawi, the Labour Minister who announced the new decision, has come under fire. Several business owners last week staged a rally in front of the office of Al Wefaq, Bahrain's largest parliamentary bloc.