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Qatar moves to protect migrant workers

DOHA (AsiaNews): Qatar passed a law on August 22 attributing industrial rights to migrant workers, including domestic staff, stipulating a maximum 10-hour day, monthly payment of salary, a whole day off each week and a three-week vacation each year.
At the termination of employment or contract, three weeks salary is to be paid for each year of service completed. It also prohibits the employment of anyone over 60 or under 18.
The new law is designed to protect the almost 100,000 cooks and cleaners in the Gulf country, the vast majority of whom are foreigners.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have moved to the emirate in recent years, including 100,000 women employed as domestic workers.
This is the first time that regulations have been adopted for domestic staff, whose treatment has been a contentious issue, with workers complaining of slave-like conditions of employment.
The Guardian reported in 2014 that many foreign women were forced to work up to 100 hours a week. In addition, their passports were confiscated, salary withheld and many were victims of physical and sexual violence.
Qatar has also come under the pressure of the international community to improve the conditions of construction workers employed in preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
The emirate is under the scrutiny of the International Labour Organisation. It has given the country until November to improve its human rights standards so as not to incur sanctions.
Qatar is not the only country in the area accused of abusing foreign workers. In 2015, Indonesia announced that it would stop sending domestic workers to 21 countries in the Middle East due to the ill-treatment that they suffer.

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