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Italy hails Qatar's planned reforms for migrant workers
Doha, Oct 17 (IANS/AKI) Italy on Thursday welcomed Qatar's announcement that it has agreed to introduce a minium wage for migrant workers and to abolish the hated 'kafala' system that stops them changing jobs or going abroad.
"Congratulations to Qatar for announcing a non discriminatory minimum wage for all workers from January 2020 and complete abolition of the kafala system," Italy's Ambassador to Qatar, Pasquale Salzano, said in a tweet.
"An historical milestone for the protection of the workers' rights," the tweet added.
The UN International Labour Organisation said on Wednesday that Qatar's ministers had agreed to end kafala and also introduce "a non-discriminatory minimum wage, the first in the Middle East". Qatar's Emir Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is expected to approve the measures by January, according to ILO.
Kafala binds workers to so-called sponsorship by their employer, meaning they cannot move jobs or leave the country without the employer's approval. Human rights groups have campaigned for years to have kafala abolished across the Gulf, whose countries use millions of low-paid immigrant workers, mostly from the Indian subcontinent.
The level of the minimum wage, a key reform given the low pay for migrant workers in Qatar, will be set later this year and it will apply to all the country's workers irrespective of nationality, said ILO.
Fifa's decision to locate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has hugely increased scrutiny of the Gulf state, the world's richest country per-capita. ILO has been working on reforms with the Qatar government since 2017.
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