By Olivia Mungwana
Qatar has closed 12 Kenyan recruitment agencies that were discovered to be in violation of the law.
The closures are the result of pressure from both the Kenyan government and trade unions to improve the care of foreign workers in the Middle East.
The decision was made during a meeting on Sunday in Doha between the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli and Qatar’s Labor Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri.
Starch, Anand, Sunrise, Dubai, Frame, Al Adam, Absher, Al Methaq, Resala, Altaaon, and Althabat are among the companies affected.
During the conference, Al Marri reaffirmed Qatar’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of Kenyans, particularly domestic workers.
He stated that they are at the moment in the process of closing down all employment agencies that were used to smuggle Kenyans into Qatar and other Gulf states.
Atwoli, for his part, advocated for the formation of government-to-government partnerships with Qatar in order to ensure that the State tracks bilateral talks on the terms and conditions of Kenyan workers in Qatar.
As part of its efforts to streamline the labor sector, Qatar has increased the probation period for domestic workers from three to nine months and set maximum prices for the recruitment of domestic workers. It has also established inspection teams to evaluate recruitment agencies and ensure that the new forms of domestic worker work contracts are executed.
Many Kenyans working in Qatar have earlier made complaints about their employers’ poor pay, emotional abuse physical and confiscation of their passports.