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7 April 2010 02:54 pm

New rules to curb free visa

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The Labor Ministry is tightening recruitment rules for companies in a bid to root out firms that ‘sell’ free visas and to put an end to the problem of low-income workers escaping their employers. The ministry is also setting up a unit at the Doha International Airport to monitor freshly-arriving workers who are left stranded by their employers. Companies whose workers who are found waiting for more than six hours after arrival at the airport will be taken to task and punished, senior ministry officials told reporters here on Monday. Addressing a news conference, they said firms applying for work visas would need to provide salary payment records for the previous three months. And the salary payment records must be endorsed by the inspection wing of the Department of Labor. Companies are also required to produce a letter from the National Workforce Department stating that no qualified Qatari is available for a job for which they need to recruit a foreign worker. The news briefing was held by Abdullah Al Mohannadi, director of recruitment and chairman of recruitment committee, Mohamed Saeed Al Nuaimi, head of inspection, Saleh Al Shawi, head of labor relations, and Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, director of public relations at the ministry. A pilot project has been launched by the ministry on March 3 whereby companies are being asked to forward copies of employees’ salary transfers to banks to check if they are paying their workers in time. This way, a comprehensive database is being developed. The State Cabinet had earlier set up a committee headed by the Minister of Labor, Dr Sultan bin Hasan Aldhabit Al Dosri, to study the phenomenon of low-income workers escaping their sponsors. The minister, in turn, appointed a committee to make more strict recruitment rules for private companies. Labor officials will be visiting projects to assess whether the demand made by a company for workers is genuine and whether it really needs the number of work visas it has actually applied for. Reports by labor officials on labor lodgings of companies will also be scrutinised before approving their work visa requests. And main contractors hiring sub-contractors will have to vouch in writing for the latter if they apply for work visas to carry out projects. http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsection=Qatar+News&month=April2010&file=Local_News201004073130.xml