The Qatari cabinet is preparing the final draft of the kafala reform legislation and is expected to complete it before the end of 2015, a statement from the Government Communications Office of the State of Qatar said on Monday.
Qatari authorities have made “measurable progress” with regard to labour practices in Qatar, the statement said. They added that the new legislation represented “significant reform of the kafala labour contract system.”
The office however said that the reform of kafala system was “just one step in a longer journey, and in the months ahead the Government will be looking at further reforms to labour practices in our country.”
The Communications Office also expressed the Qatari government’s understanding of the concerns of global NGOs and other stakeholders with regard to the rights of expatriate workers.
Grateful and concerned about expats’ welfare
The office said in the statement that Qatar was “deeply grateful to those who have come from foreign lands to help us build our nation,” before adding that “Their labour rights – and their human rights – should be, must be, and will be respected.”
The Qatari government will be looking for ways to address dishonest recruitment practices in home countries of expatriate workers, noting that many of the workers “arrive in Doha with debts of $5000 or more,” the office said.
The statement then highlighted that just like workers help build the Qatari nation, the wages they take help support their families and their countries’ economy. “Last year alone, foreign workers in Qatar transferred more than $14bn in remittances, supporting some 1.3 million families in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and elsewhere around the world,” the communication’s office said.
The process of issuing laws
“Qatar has an established legislative process that governs the creation and revision of its laws,” The office said. They noted that the Qatari legislative process has been established to accommodate and balance different points of view. The office then provided a breakdown of the process of issuing laws in Qatar. The first step begins with the cabinet, responsible for all of the laws of the State of Qatar, submitting a draft law to the Shura Council for review.
The council, comprised of 30 Qatari citizens, then provides its recommendations on the proposed law and policy. Afterwards, the council sends the draft law to the cabinet along with the recommendations for the ministers responsible for the law’s implementation to discuss it.
Following that established procedure, the kafala reform legislation was sent by the cabinet to the Shura Council for review. The council then made a number of recommendations to the draft. On Sunday, HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani met with members of the Shura Council to discuss these recommendations.
Source : Qatar News Agency