The Qatari government has shut down 12 Kenyan employment agencies in a move aimed at improving the treatment of migrant workers in Gulf States.
The decision was reached following a meeting in Doha on Sunday, February 19 between COTU secretary-general Francis Atwoli and Qatar’s labor minister, Ali bin Samikh Al Marri.
Qatari officials said the recruitment agencies had violated the law and that the operation was part of monitoring efforts to preserve the rights of employers of domestic workers.
“The minister noted that they are currently in the process of cancelling the operations of Kenyan-owned employment agencies. At least 12 licences have been cancelled so far,” Atwoli said.
The affected agencies include; Starch, Anand, Sunrise, Dubai, Frame, Al Adam, Absher, Al Methaq, Resala, Altaaon, and Althabat.
The licenses of the agencies were revoked meaning they can no longer engage in labor recruitment or contract negotiations with employers.
At the same time, COTU recommend that Kenya and Qatar should establish government-to-government relations. This will ensure the government and not agencies will oversee negotiations on the terms and conditions of Kenyan workers in Qatar.
“Our position is that, like the Philippines, the Government of Kenya should embark on government-to-government agreements with the Government of Qatar. As such, the Qatari authorities will be directly responsible for anything happening to a Kenyan working in Qatar,” Atwoli said.
Further, Qatar has extended the probation term for domestic workers from three to nine months and established maximum pricing for the recruitment of domestic workers as part of its efforts to streamline the labor market in the Gulf state.