[Research] Labour Migrants and Access to Justice in Contemporary Qatar

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[Research] Labour Migrants and Access to Justice in Contemporary Qatar

Category : Documents , News

By Andrew Gardner (University of Puget Sound), Silvia Pessoa (Carnegie Mellon Qatar), Laura Harkness; December 2014

Read the research in these languages: English ; Arabic

The 60-page report looks at migrants’ interactions with three primary institutions – the Department of Labour Relations, the Labour Court and the Ministry of Interior. The authors found that only a tiny proportion of migrants ever take labour-related cases to the justice system. Of those who do, a large proportion end up abandoning their cases because they cannot support themselves during what are often lengthy legal proceedings. However, those who do persevere and see their cases through to the end often get positive judgements. One conclusion is that the justice system could play a much more influential role in adjudicating labour relations. With incremental improvements to expand migrants’ access to legal redress, the experiences of millions of migrants could be improved.

Specific recommendations include:

  • Increase the speed of handling migrants’ cases, which currently often take a year or more
  • Provide translation services for migrants, who speak more than 20 languages
  • Allow migrants to seek other legal work while a case is in process
  • Provide authorities with more punitive measures, including penalties for employers who withhold worker pay or refuse to attend court
  • Create a monitoring program to track migrant worker cases and complaints, so as to pinpoint problems and solutions