Only two Qatar World Cup hotel chains have adhered to the international ’employer pays principle’

Only two of the hotel chains based in Qatar where the World Cup final which will take place later this year have adhered to an international standard principle that low-wage workers should not have to pay recruitment fees to obtain jobs in the Gulf state.

In a survey conducted by the Business and Human Rights Resource Center [BHRRC]only two of the 30 hotel chains – Radisson and Kempinski – which will host the estimated one million visitors expected for the tournament said they adhered to the ’employer pays principle’ [EPP].

The BHRRC estimates that migrant workers have collectively paid more than £1 billion over the past ten years to recruitment agencies, labor supply companies and other informal contacts to secure jobs for themselves. hospitality jobs in qatar. The EPP is part of the Dhaka Principles formulated by human rights groups a decade ago to establish basic workers’ rights, including that migrant workers should not be charged fees for to get a job.

Qatar’s hotel sector is expected to have reached 44,000 rooms at the start of the tournament, a rapid increase from around 10,000 in 2010, when the small oil-rich state won the World Cup final by Fifa. The hotels are staffed largely by migrant labor from South and Southeast Asia, part of the two million non-Qatari workforce. The BHRRC says that when companies fail to bear the cost of recruitment fees, which can amount to a year’s salary, the consequences can be very damaging.

“Workers lack some of the most basic protections against exploitation and are often financially distressed,” the report’s authors said, “in the worst-case scenario, they have been driven to suicide under the pressure of debt. and low wages.

BHRRC surveyed 30 hotel brands in Qatar of which only 14 responded. Nevertheless, in the face of reluctance to release information during its previous 2021 survey, the BHRRC reported some improvements this year. Ten of the hotel brands disclosed at least one recruitment agency or labor provider compared to four in 2021. Four of the hotel brands disclosed discovering recruitment fee payments. Only Kempinski and Radisson released exact figures, and neither was prepared to reveal data on reimbursements to workers.

The BHRRC commended Qatar’s hospitality industry for “stepping up its efforts and demonstrating its commitment to some of the core principles of corporate transparency”, but added “there is still insufficient understanding by brands of how migration is facilitated, and possible stakeholders involved, to be able to fully identify and mitigate risks to their workforce.

A Qatari government official said in response to the BHRRC report that it had done more than any other country in the region to improve workers’ rights through new laws. He said Qatar had opened 20 centers in eight countries that sent labor to the state to regulate recruitment and would open more. The official also said that the responsibility also lies with the national and international companies working there.

The government official said: “Qatar has repeatedly said that systemic reform does not happen overnight and that changing the behavior of every company takes time. The reality is that no other country has come this far so quickly.

In a statement, Fifa said it was “committed to respecting and promoting the highest international labor standards for all workers”. [on Fifa events]”. He added that the Supreme Committee of Qatar which organizes the tournament prohibits the payment of fees by workers and obliges contractors to use approved recruitment agencies. It says that as part of this commitment, and as a reward, “workers received payments totaling $22.6 million [£19 million] in December 2021, with an additional $5.7 million [£4.8 million] committed by entrepreneurs.