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Companies in Qatar scramble for ways to send short-term workers home
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Companies in Qatar scramble for ways to send short-term workers home

Santosh Chandran
Companies that brought hundreds of skilled workers to Qatar on short-term contracts are scrambling for ways to send them home as COVID-19 leaves them stuck in the country. 
According to industry insiders, the companies are looking to charter special flights to fly them out and are awaiting approval from the authorities concerned.
Every year, hundreds of workers from countries such as India and Sri Lanka come to Qatar to work in the oil and gas sector on shut-down projects. Carried out during a planned period of cessation at a refinery or a plant, a shut-down project generally lasts for two or three months and requires a huge amount of human resources.
 “Recruiting skilled workers for shutdown projects are regular practice in this sector,” a senior officer at an engineering company involved in the oil and gas sector, told Qatar Tribune.
“We will recruit skilled workers for temporary job for two or three months required for a shutdown job in big companies. When the shutdown work or regular maintenance jobs are done, we send them back as per the terms of the contract. We have more than 600 workers in this category and need to send them back as their contract period is over,” he said.
Feeding and providing accommodation for these temporary workers is a challenge for contracting companies. 
“As per the job contracts, sending them back is our responsibility. We have approached authorities concerned in Qatar and India to operate chartered flights to some cities in the southern parts of India, a senior employee at a contracting company in Al Khor told Qatar Tribune. 
Sources in Indian Embassy in Qatar said the mission has received such requests from some companies and organizations in this regard. 
President of Kerala Business Forum (KBF), an association of business community in Doha, KR Jayaraj said, “We are trying to charter a flight since April. We have approached the Indian Embassy and the authority concerned in India in this regard.”
A ticket on a 180-seat chartered flight from Doha to South India is estimated to cost around QR2,000.

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