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Satyendra Pathak
Qatar is expected to announce the permanent minimum wage for expatriate workers by the end of this year, Houtan Homayounpour, head of ILO project office in Qatar, has said.
“ILO officials have done a thorough economical analysis with officials of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) in this regard. We have also done research in source countries like India and Nepal and put forward a series of recommendations on what a threshold for the minimum wage should be,” Homayounpour told Qatar Tribune.
Based on ILO recommendations considering the various economical factors, Homayounpour said the Qatari government is expected to adopt a minimum wage law by the end of this year.
The temporary minimum wage announced by the previous minister of labour is QR750 over and above housing and food. However, Homayounpour said the then minister had announced that the ministry would come up with a permanent minimum wage. “This is what they have done now,” he said.
Homayounpour said Qatar has achieved several milestones since the opening of ILO office in the country one and half years ago.
“Elimination of exit visa for majority of workers, a new ministerial decree providing direction and further advice on joint committees and managing elections for worker representatives to join joint committees, the domestic workers law are some of the major milestones that Qatar achieved in recent years,” he said.
“But the work is not done yet. There are many more milestones to be achieved and we look forward to supporting the government in achieving the milestones,” he said, adding that the ILO was working with the Qatari government to eliminate exit visa and no objection certificate (NOC) for all workers across categories.
“The government is working to completely eliminate the NOC system. We want to ensure that workers can move freely, of course with certain criteria. While the rights of workers should be respected, we also want to ensure that rights of employers are respected,” he said.
Highlighting the success of wage protection system (WPS) in the Qatar, he said, “The wage protection system that has been put in place has fantastic potential and it’s really working well in Qatar. The labour inspectors can now see if the workers are paid on time or not.
“But it can be improved. The government asked us to collaborate on assessment on WPS, which we did.”
Based on the assessment, he said, the ILO has put forward a series of recommendations on how WPS can be improved to ensure that red warnings are raised when workers are not paid and it doesn’t go on for long.
“We have also recommended for extending WPS to all categories of workers,” he said.
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