Seven months since the implementation of a new salary payment scheme last year, as many as 1.5mn of the 1.7mn labourers in Qatar are now receiving their salaries under the state’s Wage Protection System (WPS), HE the Minister for Administrative Development and Labour and Social Affairs Dr Issa Saad al-Juffali al-Nuaimi has said.
The Minister made the announcement before Qatar Chamber (QC) chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani and other QC officials during a consultative meeting with business owners and representatives of private sector companies held at the chamber’s headquarters on Monday.
The WPS was implemented on November 2 last year, based on amendments to Labour Law No 14 of 2004. The new salary payment scheme requires companies to transfer salaries electronically to employees’ bank accounts.
Al-Nuaimi attributed the “successful implementation” of the WPS to the “great strides” taken by companies to comply with the new salary payment system, in co-operation with “relevant agencies.”
During the meeting, the participants raised their concerns before the Minister, including issues on employment contracts, housing requirements, change of sponsorship, and cases of absconding workers, among other problems.
The employers also called on the Ministry for the establishment of a “labour court” that will handle and decide on various labour and employment issues. They also raised the issue on delays, suspension or rejection, and lengthy procedures in the granting of visas to workers.
“We have already discussed this issue with the Prime Minister. A new mechanism will be created to streamline or simplify the issuance of visas. The chamber will be duly informed of any developments in the streamlining process,” al-Nuaimi said during the dialogue.
To address issues on recruitment of employees, the Minister said a committee was formed “to solve all obstacles faced by recruitment agencies.” The committee members, he explained, will come from the Ministry for Administrative Development and Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Qatar Chamber, and recruitment firms.
Al-Nuaimi also expressed optimism on the implementation of the new labour law, which, he said, will take effect “later this year.” The new labour law, he added, “will change the relationship between the worker and the company,” referring to the abolishment of the kafala (sponsorship) system.
“Qatar is keen on developing legislative and legal infrastructure in line with the conventions and treaties signed by Qatar, and to achieve ease of doing business. The leadership of this country places great importance on the implementation of all security and safety standards for foreign workers,” he said.
For his part, Sheikh Khalifa said: “As a representative of the private sector in Qatar, the chamber is working hard to communicate with all agencies in the state to solve all obstacles facing business owners and companies.”