Recruitment Agencies seek bigger role
DOHA: Manpower agencies in the country are pressing the government to make it mandatory for private companies to recruit unskilled and semi-skilled foreign workers through them to help end problems like the sale of work visas by some firms and workers running away from their sponsors.
There are more than 200 manpower agencies in the country but they are only allowed to recruit maids from designated countries and supply them to Qatari as well as expatriate households for employment.
These agencies are of the view that if they are given the go-ahead to supply low-income workers to the private sector, problems like ‘free visa’ sale and runaway workers would end.
“We are in talks with the Ministry of Labor and have been urging it to widen our role and permit us to also supply unskilled and semi-skilled foreign workers to private companies,” the owner of a manpower agency, Saqr Ghanem, said.
He told The Peninsula yesterday that if the agencies are entrusted with the above task the recruitment process would be streamlined and the rights of both the workers and employers would be protected.
“If low-income workers are recruited through us, there would be no runaway workers and there would be no free visa sale,” said Ghanem.
According to him, what’s happening presently is that in many cases workers are promised higher salaries and perks as well as good accommodation by recruitment agencies in their respective countries, but when they arrive here they feel cheated as they find that the payments are low and lodgings not up to the mark.
This breeds resentment among the workers and not only their productivity suffers but many of them also escape their
“I would say that at least 50 percent of workers run away from their sponsors because they have been cheated by the recruiting agencies in their respective countries,” said Ghanem.
Being based overseas these agencies are not accountable to the Qatari authorities, aside from the fact that they charge exorbitant sums as service fee from hapless workers.
As for local manpower agencies, they can be held accountable for any fault or irregularity committed by them.
“Each agency makes a security deposit with the Labor Ministry which is to be forfeited in the case of any irregularity.”
“The deposit amount currently is QR250,000 but in case we are allowed to recruit low-income company workers we are willing to raise the security deposit amount to a million riyal or more,” said Ghanem.
As for professionals, companies should continue to recruit them directly, said Ghanem.