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Qatar (once again) announced the abolishment of the Kafala system today in Doha. Though details are still to come, an ILO press statement indicates that the exit visa will be eliminated (except for military personnel) and that all workers will be able to change their employers without their sponsor’s permission following a probationary period. The legislation is expected to come into force from January 2020.

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Migrant-Right.org’s Associate Editor and Director of Projects Vani Saraswathi discusses the situation of migrant workers in the GCC on the Latitude Adjustment podcast.
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Kuwait has raised the minimum wage required for foreigners to sponsor families from 450 Kuwaiti Dinars (USD 1,481) to 500 Kuwaiti Dinars (USD1,646) per month. The decision maintains an existing exemption for 14 professional occupations.

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Earlier this month, hundreds of workers from two companies in Qatar took to the streets to protest months of unpaid wages.  Bystanders who shared images of the protest seemed to be taken by surprise, as though delayed salaries and poor working conditions are common, public protests are not – strikes and any form of unionisation are not permitted in the country.

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A recent Oxfam article dives deep into the impact of remittances on national economies and migrant communities. The report also examines high transaction costs, where a significant percentage of the remittances are siphoned off as fees.

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Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) recently announced that a new shelter for male migrants is expected to be opened soon.

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Saudi’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development recently announced that recruitment agencies must receive female domestic workers arriving for the first time to the Kingdom at the airport, and provide them with accommodation before they begin employment. 

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Bahrain yet again postpones the implementation of the wage-protection system (WPS). Bahrain now expects to implement the WPS in September 2019.

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Oman has issued a temporary visa ban on migrant workers in certain private construction and cleaning sectors for 6 months.

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Bahrain now requires migrant workers reported as “absconders” or “runaways” to pay for their own repatriation costs.

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Migrant workers’ eligibility to bring family members to the UAE will now be based on their income alone, rather than on their profession.

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Security sources say that Kuwait will launch a large-scale detention and deportation campaign on an estimated 120,000 irregular migrants. Thousands of migrants have already been arrested in the past six months, in what officials say is a crackdown on visa traders and fake companies.

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Yet another (illegal) accommodation caught fire in Bahrain this week.

No one was physically harmed but the men, all from Bangladesh, lost everything.

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A new agreement between Saudi and Ethiopia has set domestic worker salaries at SAR 1,000 (USD 266.66). 20,000 domestic workers are expected to arrive in the Kingdom by March.

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Migrants can now lodge complaints and requests in Hindi, in an effort Abu Dhabi says is aimed at improving access to justice and attracting foreign investment.

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In a bid to reduce recruitment costs and address labor shortages,  Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior has reportedly lifted a ban on domestic worker recruitment from the Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Senegal in addition to Nepal, and Vietnam.  It is unclear if new labour agreements have been signed with any of these countries.

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