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HRW Urges Qatar to protect construction workers from heat risks

In a statement released today, HRW has said that Qatar’s midday summer work bans do not provide adequate protection for construction workers.  ...

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Dubai’s labour court announces this week that it will appoint a panel of judges to review cases involving by domestic workers. According to the National, the panel is set to sit for the first time in November.

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On September 26, the UAE announced that Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved the country’s first law on domestic workers. The law will come into force once relevant executive regulations and standard job contracts are finalised. 

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Bahrain will be the first country in the GCC to allow foreigners to live and work in the kingdom without a sponsor.  Undocumented migrants are now able to apply for a flexible permit that allows them to work for more than one employer in a full or part-time nonprofessional job. Workers will receive a “Blue Card” renewable every six months, which they must keep on them at all times,  and are able to exit and re-enter the country at will.

 

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The Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) has launched a hotline for expatriate workers to submit complaints and understand their legal rights. The hotline 22215150 is available in Arabic, Arabic, English, Filipino, Hindi and Urdu.  So far, over 800 inquiries have been made on issues ranging from passport confiscation, transfer of sponsorship, owed wages, and contract violations.

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Migrant-Rights.org and the Global Detention Project have submitted a joint report on the UAE’s implementation of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).  Our report focuses on the situation of detained foreigners and migrant workers in the UAE.

 

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The UAE’s Federal National Council passed the latest draft law on domestic workers last week. It now requires final approval from President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. If enforced, the law would offer the most progressive regulations for domestic workers in the region.

 

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Qatar released new statistics concerning its Expat Grievances Committee this week. Expats whose travel requests are denied by their employer must appeal to the committee in order to leave the country. Over 761 appeals were received between December 13 and February 15, 213 of which were rejected, 485 approved, and the remaining in consideration.

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Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior Affairs announced that at least 29,000 expats were deported in 2016 – about 80 persons a day. This is a meaningful increase from the 25,000 deported in 2015. A Ministry official cast these statistics in a positive light, claiming that they “show undoubtedly that we have made deportation processes much faster.”

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In the wake of low oil prices and large budget defects, Saudi joins other Gulf countries in considering taxes on expat remittances. The most recent proposal suggests a 6% tax on remittances for the first year of an expat’s residency, and 2% for the five years following.

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Expatriates in Kuwait will not be allowed into Kuwait’s airports, except for traveling. The MOI says expats are causing a congestion.

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A recent decision by Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior will exempt sponsors from paying return airfare for domestic workers reported as absconding (‘runaways’), or who have any other criminal charges against them.  The decision also increases punishments for individuals who hire or shelter ‘absconded’ workers, and will force these employers to pay for return tickets.

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Expatriate teachers in Kuwait are protesting a decision to cut their benefits, while construction workers are protesting the failure to investigate a death on a worksite. Another group of Bangladeshi workers are protesting in front of their embassy, demanding the residency permits that their sponsoring company failed to provide them.

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Bahrain is contemplating a ‘flexible’ work permit that will allow those without legal visa to work for multiple employers.

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India places curbs on recruitment of female migrants, making it mandatory for all female migrant workers with an ECR stamp on their passport, and nurses, to be recruited only through seven approved recruitment agencies.

 

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