Qatar Approves Medical Check-up, Biometric Recording in Expats’ Home Countries
In the first phase, workers from eight countries will be able to complete required documents and tests in their home country.
Expatriate workers seeking employment in Qatar will now be able to complete prerequisite procedures in their home countries, the Qatar News Agency said on Nov. 21.
The first phase of the process will begin in eight countries — India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines and Tunisia — which send 80 per cent of expat workers in Qatar. Workers will be able to take the required medical check-up, record biometric data and fingerprints, and sign work contracts in their own country before coming to Qatar.
Qatar Interior Ministry has signed an agreement with a Singapore-based company for completing the requisite documents and check-ups. It would also decrease cases of rejection of workers based on their medical tests.
The Qatar government has taken these measures to make it easier for expat workers to work in the country.
In October, the International Labor Organization said that Qatar had agreed to allow workers to leave the country and change jobs without their employer’s permission, to establish a minimum wage and a fund to guarantee late wages. Their Kafala system, which prevents almost 1.6 million — mostly Asian — workers from leaving the country or seeking employment elsewhere without the employer’s’ permission, has been criticized repeatedly over the years.
The government approved a draft bill to set up a support fund for its two million-strong foreign workforce.
Qatar said it had reaffirmed its commitment in developing laws in line with international labor standards and the guidance of ILO, and would ensure that all workers rights are secure.
Construction workers in the country, including thousands of Indian migrants, are at risk from working in adverse weather conditions, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report said earlier this year.
After winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup bid, the country has been working on improving its global image even as neighboring countries accuse it of funding militants.