Subject: Wage theft, visa outsourcing
Date: 15 June, 2021
We are employees of Meinhard Bim Studio LLC (MBS) in Qatar who have not been paid regularly, despite many attempts to file complaints. While our contract is from Meinhardt Singapore’s Qatar office, we worked for MBS. Until January of this year, our visas were all sponsored by third-party companies as MBS did not have visas. Our visa sponsors (each of us have different visa sponsors) have our ATM cards and deposit the minimum salary monthly and withdraw it the next day.
We usually received our salary every 45 days to two months.
We have worked on various projects including the Hamad International Airport extension projects, Al Rayyan Stadium, Lusail Stadium Precinct and Qetaifan Water Park project.
On an average, we are owed three to four months salary, and despite repeated requests, the delays continue.
There are people who left over a year ago and still have salaries pending.
We have filed complaints at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) Industrial Area office. We are unable to file a complaint on the Amerni app* as we can only do so against our visa sponsor, but in this case, it is complicated as the complaint is against the employer.
We also mailed NHRC Qatar.
Our visa sponsor is willing to allow us to change jobs, we need to receive our due salaries as we are in a very difficult situation now. We would also like to share that there are nearly 80 employees and ex-employees who are owed a lot of money. Most of us don’t receive end of service settlements. Recently, when staff resigned and requested for settlement, they received ‘dispute letters’ which accused them of non-performance, hence making them not eligible for settlement.
MBS is also maintaining now that since the visa is sponsored by another company, they will not be paying. Even though our work was done for MBS, and we had received salaries through them.
Some of the projects we all worked on earlier for MBS include Hamad International Airport Extension, Greenline Metro, Qetaifan Island water park, Msheireb Bus Depot, Al Rayyan Stadium etc.
*Amerni is a mobile app of MADLSA through which workers can raise concerns and complaints
Supporting Documents reviewed by MR
- Offer letter on Meinhardt Singapore Letterhead
- Dispute letter from MBS to one employee
- Payslips, including salary receipt from Meinhardt
- Email communications between company and employees, acknowledging non-payment and promising resolution
- Complaint filed to MADLSA, ILO
MR Follow up and Notes
MR wrote to Meinhardt and Meinhardt Bim Studio and received the following response:
Meinhardt’s relationship with its employees is confidential and we do not intend to respond to your email other than to state the following:
- Meinhardt, as responsible corporate citizen, strictly complies with its legal obligations.
- Meinhardt’s employees have such protections that are afforded to them both pursuant to contract and at law if they consider Meinhardt to be in breach of its obligations.
- You appear to be an anonymous website that is proposing to act illegally. Meinhardt fully intends to take such action as is appropriate in the event that you take such illegal action.
- We do not intend to engage in any further dialogue with you.
Ali Abd El Maksoud A. Ali, Office Manager, Meinhardt
MR also wrote to QFC and QFCRA, on their complaints and whistleblowing sections and received this response:
Dear Editor of Migrant Rights,
Thank you for your email and the provided information, the matter will be addressed under the Protected Reporting regime of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority and will be subject to a review.
Please feel free to contact us, in confidence, in case you want to raise further concerns about this matter or any QFC Regulated firm.
You can find further information on our Protected Reporting Framework on the link below;
We may contact you to seek further information/clarification (if required) in relation to this matter,
However, I do urge you to provide as much information on this instance by filling our e-form on the link below.
Thank you for choosing to raise this concern.
Abdulrahman Al Hail, Senior Associate, Enforcement
MR reached out to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC):
Dear Migrant-Rights team,
Regarding the below, five staff from Meinhardt BIM Studios LLC (MBS) were employed as freelancers working on a call off project related to producing AutoCAD/engineering drawings for an SC project. They completed their work in April 2020, and all dues were settled. SC records show, no sub-contractor/manpower suppliers were mobilised by MBS on SC projects.