Fake companies, which manage to get work visas in large numbers, are responsible for the increasing number of abandoned low-skill foreign workers in the country, says a businessman and prominent member of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), representative body of the vibrant private sector.
Fake companies, or companies which exist only on paper, have no jobs to offer but manage to obtain work visas in big numbers. They sell these visas to make money, says Ahmed Al Rais. Al Rais, owner of large businesses, has more than 3,000 foreign workers in his employ. He told this newspaper in an interview, he was surprised how fake firms managed to get work visas in such large numbers.
They sell off work visas to manpower agencies abroad and the result is that when a foreign worker arrives here on such a visa, he is left stranded and his sorry plight begins from the airport itself with no one to receive him and guide him to the company accommodation.
These workers who are here on ‘free visas’ along with absconding workers (workers who escape their sponsors for better prospects) are to mainly blame for a majority of petty crimes taking place in the country and security-related risks. “I have been urging the authorities concerned for long to classify private companies into three categories: A, B and C, to help end the problem of abandoned and absconding workers,” he said.
Grade ‘A’ companies should be the ones operating for 20 years or more with a track record of treating their workers well. Firms existing for less than 20 years and more than 10 with no worker-related problems, should be put in category ‘B’.
New or even old companies with known problems related to workers should be classified as ‘C’ and they should not be given work visas at all, said Al Rais.
Likewise, absconding workers should also be put in ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups. In group ‘A’ those whose employers inform the authorities concerned of their disappearance should be, while Group ‘B’ workers should comprise those whose sponsors choose to remain silent about their escape.
In case a group ‘B’ absconding worker is caught, he, his sponsor as well as his new employer should all be punished. “This is the only effective way to combat the problem of absconding workers,” said Al Rais.
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