The decision was made during a two-day mission by a delegation from the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation.
The Kenyan government will now oversee negotiations on the terms and conditions of its national workers in Qatar instead of agencies.
It follows a meeting between the Secretary General of Central Organisation of Trade Unions in Kenya (COTU), Dr Francis Atwoli and Qatar’s Minister of Labour, Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri.
Human rights activists say that Kenyans and migrant workers in general, pay exorbitant recruitment fees just to secure jobs in Qatar, and often become heavily indebted in the process. When they arrive in Qatar, they are sometimes presented with contracts that pay less than they were promised by the agency.
Operations of Kenyan-owned employment agencies are currently in the process of being cancelled. At least 12 licenses have been cancelled so far, with some of these agencies being owned and operated by senior Kenyan government officials.
The meeting was a part of a two-day working mission by a delegation from the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa).
This is a step forward meant to ensure the safety of Kenyan workers, especially domestic workers, in Qatar.
In Doha meeting Kenyan workers and listening to their views before our meeting with Dr Ali Qatar minister for labour and social services. pic.twitter.com/LjVZcqON94
— Francis Atwoli NOM (DZA), CBS, EBS, MBS. (@AtwoliDza) February 20, 2022
The ITUC delegation included 11 members from eight African countries. They visited several workplaces and construction sites to talk to African migrant workers and obtain first-hand information about their working conditions.
The mission trip came after the ITUC made a commitment to visit Qatar during the 2021 Africa-Arab Labour Migration Webinar Conference hosted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It was also convened following an upsurge in complaints on the plight of African workers in Qatar, and the Gulf states in general.
The MOL received over 2,000 thousand labour complaints in December alone. The complaints involved working hours, salaries, along with other violations.
The organisation also met with the stakeholders involved in and connected to the labour reform processes in Qatar. This included ILO officials, the MOL, Qatar’s Human Rights Committee, and the Shura Council.
“It should be recalled that there is a significant and growing number of African migrants living and working in Qatar. Also, in the wake of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, migrant inflow to Qatar significantly increased,” said Adu-Amakwah, general secretary of the ITUC.
The delegation praised Qatar’s recent reforms in migrant rights, and gave additional recommendations to the gulf state. The ITUC president Ayuba Wabba stated that the organisation will continue to work with Qatar in order to ensure improvement in the world culture and conditions.