Human Rights Professor Recommends Reforms for Qatar’s Kafala System

Professor of migration, human rights and ethics at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies’ (QFIS) Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics, Rajai Jureidini, has urged employers to provide migrant workers with actual meals rather than monetary food allowances. Given Qatar’s high cost of living, the monthly stipend many workers currently receive is not sufficient to cover the costs for food, Jureidini argues. Moreover, migrant workers often send their pay back to creditors or their families at home, exacerbating their personal financial situation in Qatar. As an alternative to the food allowances, some companies have begun offering workers free meals to ensure that they do not go hungry; Jureidini maintains that every employer should provide these services.

Human rights organizations have frequently criticized Qatar’s kafala employment system for giving Qatari nationals excessive control over the expatriates they hire. The kafala systems requires migrants to gain permission from their employer before they can open a bank account, change jobs, or leave the country. To address some of these issues, Jureidini advises the Qatari government establish a minimum wage, extend the existing labor law to cover domestic workers, and ensure Qatari companies pay recruitment fees.

Margaret Bailey is an Advocacy Intern at ADHRB.