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New investigation says FIFA failed migrant workers in Qatar

  • Published on
    June 15, 2023
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  • Category:
    Forced Labor
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A new investigation by Amnesty International has concluded that FIFA failed migrant workers in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup and didn’t do enough to address reports of exploitation and abuse.

Thousands of migrant workers were involved in construction, hospitality, and other key areas of infrastructure required for the World Cup to take place in Qatar with Qatar spending an estimated $200 billion on the tournament.

Meanwhile, workers reportedly suffered widespread abuses including debt bondage, wage theft, being prevented from changing employers, forced to work excessive hours, and having identity documents withheld by unscrupulous employers.

Ignored complaints

The investigation by the human rights body interviewed 22 men from Nepal, Kenya, and Ghana who shared their experiences of working in Qatar at World Cup sites. They were employed by Qatar-based company Teyseer Security Services and reported having to pay illegal recruitment fees to secure their employment, and had overtime and bonus pay withheld.

Workers interviewed said that they had reported complaints to the World Cup hotline but their reports were ignored. 

Sean Ingle at the Guardian reports:

More than a third of those interviewed said they had to work 12 hours every day and worked for up to 38 consecutive days without a day off, which breaches Qatari law. And all 22 accused Teyseer’s representatives, or recruitment agents, of making false promises such as suggesting that they could take up more senior roles and earn an extra £220 a month.

Hundreds of workers in Qatar protested, demanding the payment of owed wages before their short-term contracts with Teyseer ended. Despite pledges from the company and the government to do so, workers didn’t see a penny.

The case of workers at Teyseer occurs in the context of hundreds of workers in Qatar struggling against the early termination of their contracts. Last month, three former security guards were jailed in Qatar for four months following their repeated requests for unpaid wages from their employer, Stark Security Services.

Early termination of contracts can have a devastating impact on often low-paid migrant workers who accrue huge debts in order to secure employment in Qatar. Unable to pay these debts off, workers are at risk of exploitation and threats from lenders. 

Take action

The Freedom United community has been urgently calling on Qatari authorities and FIFA to commit to protecting migrant workers from exploitation and remedy human rights abuses endured as a result of the tournament.

Today, migrant workers in Qatar continue to face exploitation and mistreatment. Keep the momentum for justice going by signing the petition today.


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