Qatar has become a role model in the workers' welfare field, HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, Dr Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi has said.
Speaking at the Fifth Labour and Workers Conference on Tuesday, the minister said Qatar has the best standards for workers' welfare as it has updated most of the labour legislation to comply with the best international standards.
Al-Nuaimi said human resource development is a main pillar for a comprehensive sustainable development in all its aspects, and one of the main factors for its continuity. The minister explained that based on Qatar's understanding of this concept and its appreciation of expatriate labour as a productive and effective energy for development, it has formulated the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The minister said the national vision is devoted to the need to establish institutional arrangements to ensure the rights and safety of all labourers in the country, and the country has spared no effort in this regard.
He said a large expatriate workforce comes to Qatar annually to meet the needs of its ambitious development plans.
The workers, belonging to various religions and cultures, come from all over the world and live harmoniously in making Qatar a model for others, he added.
The minister said by helping in the development process of Qatar, the expatriate workers develop their countries' economies through money transfers worth billions of dollars annually, according to World Bank estimates.
Stressing that Qatar is keen to promote workers' rights, the minister said, the country has launched a number policies and legislative amendments to achieve the goal of decent working relationship between the nationals and expatriate workforce.
This will establish and promote a balanced and productive relationship between both parties and its reference would be a work contract based on consent and transparency which protects their rights.
Dr Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi referred to the promulgation of a number of laws in favour of workers in the country, such as Law No. 1 of 2015 amending certain provisions of the Labour Law, including the introduction of the Wage Protection System, which guarantees the transfer of the employees' salaries to their accounts in local banks, and Law No. 21 of 2015 which regulates the entry, exit and residency of expatriates, which entered into force at the end of 2016.
The minister also referred to the promulgation of Law No 13 of 2017 amending certain provisions of the Labour Law, including the establishment of committees for the settlement of labour disputes, with the aim of establishing a speedy and effective remedial mechanism for the settlement of disputes between the workers and employers.
He also pointed to the issuance of Domestic Workers Law, and the establishment of National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking which was established to act as national co-ordinator for monitoring, preventing and combating human trafficking.
The minister added that International Labour Organisation (ILO) has become a strategic partner, especially after opening an office in Qatar.
Head of the Conference organising committee HE Sheikh Thani bin Ali al-Thani stressed that Qatar has taken several steps to promote the rights of workers.
He said that the conference is being held under the theme "Building a State of Prosperity and Glory", adding that it comes at an extraordinary time when Qatar is facing an unjust siege imposed on it. However, the state's officials continue the process of nation building by defeating the siege and even achieving higher rates of performance and growth.
For her part, Director of International Labour Standards Department at ILO Corinne Vargha said that the organisation officially opened its office in Qatar on Sunday, adding that ILO's participation in this year's Labour Day events is undoubtedly a recognition by the organisation of the real reforms undertaken by Qatar.
She stressed that Qatar must be commended for its firm commitment to proceed with the implementation of several measures adopted to replace the sponsorship system with a contractual employment relationship and to handle the confiscation of passports and the replacement of contracts, as well as the elimination of restrictions on the ability of workers to change employers through a commendable contractual relationship.
The Fifth Labour and Workers Conference was attended by academics, legal experts, doctors and lawyers from within and outside Qatar. It aimed at raising awareness on the importance of ethical and legal commitment in dealing with local and expatriate workers and to promote initiatives and efforts exerted by the State in protecting the rights of workers, guided by Qatar National Vision 2030.