A long-time demand for a mechanism to help foreign workers file complaints against their employers has been met with the launch of self-service multi-lingual kiosks in Qatar yesterday.
HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Dr Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi inaugurated the new self-service multi-lingual machines at the ministry, Qatar News Agency reported.
Built using latest hardware and software, the machines use an innovative system to facilitate the process of registering a worker’s complaint.
“A worker will be able to lodge his complaint in his native language in a simple form which requires just three steps. He can then take a printout of the complaint with all relevant data and submit it to the labour affairs department where the dispute will be resolved amicably,” QNA said.
The new machines support Arabic, English, Nepalese, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Tamil languages to cater to the needs of a wide section of the expatriate workers.
Most of the foreign workers in Qatar come from countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The vast majority of these Asian workers do not understand Arabic, the official language of Qatar.
The ministry has set up the multi-lingual kiosks to remove the communication barrier between Labour Department officials and foreign workers hailing from different countries, an official statement said. “Now they can seek redressal of their grievances in their native language. This initiative is to protect workers’ rights in Qatar and offer public services efficiently using modern technology,” the ministry said.
Qatar has been taking several initiatives to improve the working conditions of foreign labourers following criticism of maltreatment by global organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Some of these steps include better accommodation, better healthcare, intensified inspection campaigns of labour camps and work sites, compulsory payment of salaries through banks and the proposed amendments to the Labour Law, including major changes to the sponsorship (kafala) system.