Qatar eyes 30,000 more Thai workers, says official

Thai Labour Minister set to sign agreement on conditions for employment for migrant workers
(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 16 Oct 2013 03:07 PM

Thailand is set to sign an agreement later this month which is likely to see as many as 30,000 migrant workers move to Qatar, it was reported on Wednesday.

Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung will sign the agreement on conditions for the employment of Thai workers, labour permanent secretary Jirasak Sukonthachart said in comments published by the Bangkok Post.

Jirasak was quoted as saying that the ratification will cover employment contracts, travel expenses and salary and will be agreed with Qatar's ambassador to Thailand

He said Qatar wants to recruit as many as 30,000 Thai workers to work in various fields such as architecture and engineering, including technical experts and crews for its flagship airline Qatar Airways.

At present about 200 Thais are employed by the airline. After the signing of the ratification, the number of Thais working with the airline will double, Jirasak said.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Qatar has signed agreements with 30 countries to recruit manpower for the current infrastructure projects boom.

Thailand is reportedly formulating a new system to take care of Thai workers working abroad and foreign workers working in Thailand to ensure they are well protected by the law.

The issue of workers rights in Qatar has been a hot topic this summer and a delegation from an international labour federation recently completed its inspection of migrant workers in Qatar, saying immediate steps are need to protect labourers.

"Bolder steps are needed now, not in the future," said a statement by the Building and Wood Worker's International (BWI) federation.

Among its recommendations are that Qatar should prohibit employers from confiscating passports and banning illegal recruitment fees and should abolish its kafala system of sponsorship-based employment and the exit visa system that gives employers unchecked power to stop workers from leaving the country.

It also called for the Gulf state to establish an effective dispute system or labour court to address complaints by migrant workers related to employment contracts, back wages, and other labour disputes.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.