Qatar’s business sector to benefit from labour law reforms: ILO official

Qatar’s ambitious labour reforms agenda, which has already seen several reforms, will benefit not only the country’s workforce but the business sector; resulting to an expanding economy that attracts more foreign investments, Houtan Homayounpour, International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Head of Project Office in Qatar has said.

According to Homayounpour, who was appointed head of the ILO project in Qatar last year, the country’s labour reforms are a ‘win-win-win’ for all, including workers, employers, and the government.

“The labour reforms will attract much more foreign direct investments to Qatar. There will be more people from the international business community who will be interested in investing in Qatar. Other companies that may have been hesitant in coming to Qatar to set up shop and have partnership will no longer hesitate and will come. Also, employers will attract more highly qualified workers to come when the reforms have taken place,” Homayounpour told The Peninsula on the sidelines of the recent Swiss Business Council Qatar Awards where he was the guest speaker.

Homayounpour added that Qatar’s business sector, which is fully supportive of the reforms, plays a fundamental role in the country’s labour reforms agenda. “We can try to support the government as much as we want. And the government can push forward the agenda as they have been doing. But if the companies and the private sector is not behind it, it will take much longer and it will not be so successful. We need everybody to be fully onboard, which is the case here in Qatar. And that’s why progress is taking place so quickly. The business sector is cooperating and we are partnering with the Qatar Chamber as well which is very much involved in this,” he added.

Qatar has removed the requirement for most workers covered by the Labour Law to obtain exit permits in order to be able to leave the country either temporarily or permanently last year. By January 2020, the new law banning the use of exit visa permits will now be extended to all workers, including domestic workers and expatriates working for government institutions, said Homayounpour.

The government has also previously announced the establishment of a non-discriminatory minimum wage that applies to all nationalities and all sectors by January 2020, and its endorsement of a new legislation allowing workers to change employers freely without being required a no-objection certificate (NOC) from their employers.

Homayounpour said: “There will be free labour market mobility, and no longer will NOCs be required. When workers are happy at work and their rights are protected, of course they will stay. And if the workers feel that the company cares about their career development, they will stay in the company longer. And the more experience they gain and the longer they stay, the better for the company as well. Workers will work much more efficiently and effectively, and the company’s turnover will be much less when it comes to human resources. It will be a much more competitive economy. Also, the economy will attract much more foreign investments and highly qualified workers who are happy to be in a country where their rights are respected”.

The ILO, considered to be the world’s authority on the world of work, opened its Qatar office almost two years ago, to support the Qatari government and other national stakeholders in establishing the labour reforms.

Source from: The Peninsula