Tuesday 01 September 2020, 12:20

FIFA welcomes ground-breaking legal changes that strengthen the protection of workers’ rights in Qatar

  • FIFA World Cup Host Country has announced major changes to its labour laws

  • Workers may now change jobs without employer’s permission

  • Non-discriminatory minimum wage represents a first in the region

  • Historical move has been praised by international human rights organisations

FIFA welcomed today the major steps announced by the State of Qatar in the area of workers’ rights. The adoption of Law No. 18 of 2020 is a landmark decision as it removes the need for migrant workers to obtain their employer’s permission to change jobs while also establishing, for the first time in the region, a non-discriminatory minimum wage.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), which played a crucial role in bringing about these important changes, commented that the reform “effectively dismantles the ‘kafala’ sponsorship system and marks the beginning of a new era for the Qatari labour market."

“We sincerely congratulate the State of Qatar on this significant step. Since the FIFA World Cup 2022 was awarded to Qatar, there has been a major collective effort from the local authorities, our partner the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the ILO to bring about positive change, and we are really pleased to see that this has materialised into concrete major progress in the area of workers’ rights,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“Well before kick-off, this important milestone demonstrates the capacity of the FIFA World Cup to foster positive change and build a lasting legacy. There is definitely still room for further progress, and we will continue to work closely with the authorities and all stakeholders to promote a progressive agenda that should be of long-term benefit to all workers in Qatar, whether involved in the preparation of the event or not.”

The new law has also been acknowledged by other international organisations such as the International Trade Union Confederation, Amnesty International and the Centre for Sport & Human Rights.