OVERSEAS Filipino workers in Qatar who have been displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic can now find work in the Middle East country without fear of violating labor laws, thanks to a significant reform in Qatar’s employment laws.
This was disclosed yesterday by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who said OFWs in Qatar have been provided more leeway in finding better employment opportunities by the host government with the abolition of the “kafala” system.
According to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Qatar, “kafala” is an employment sponsorship system used to monitor migrant laborers working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors in Gulf Cooperation Council member states.
The system requires migrant workers to get permission from their employers, by obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOR), should they decide to change jobs.
Under the reforms announced recently by Qatar, all migrant workers are now allowed to change jobs before the end of their contracts without having to obtain an NOR from their current employer.
“We wish to thank the state of Qatar for this significant reform in their employment laws,” Bello said.
Qatar is host to some 241,000 OFWs.
Back in May, the Philippine Embassy in Qatar said that more than 5,000 OFWs in Qatar have been affected by the health crisis, with 1,645 of them being displaced, and 4,055 required to go on forced leave.