David Roberts

Recruitment Changes on the Cards for Qatar; as is Inflation…

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The Qatari Government has announced that it is to review its recruitment policies to prepare for World Cup 2022. Thus far, there are no specifics on what they will do.

Clearly, to build the stadiums and the infrastructure for the competition, Qatar will need yet more workers from abroad. There are, so far as I see it, two points of concern that they need to be aware of.

At the moment Qatar is on the watch list to enter tier 2 on the US State Department’s people trafficking watch list. The lowest tier is tier 3.

In a simple ‘moral sense’ but also for a country as concerned with its international image as Qatar, this is not good enough.

I expect that Qatar will be able to use the enormous bonus – this reputed $50 billion – as a carrot to persuade the business community to adopt more humane practices as the government has pressed for in the past.

A second concern is the potential inflationary pressures that such a staggering potential input into the Qatari economy may well bring.

Qatar has struggled in recent years with inflation and it has been brought under control only in the past year or so. Though I am no economic expert, I fail to see how such an amount of money in such a small state can but bring on inflation.

Economists’ comments are welcome…

One Response to Recruitment Changes on the Cards for Qatar; as is Inflation…

  1. J Braun 11/12/2010 at 12:05 AM

    Qatar has not lifted itself from morally bankrupt status with respect to migrant workers. I am somewhat surprised to learn that the US State Department has not declared it the same status as Saudi Arabia — tier 3. Truly Qatar’s business sector need to review its policies in compliance with government dictates. Correspondingly, Saudi Arabia needs to immediate strides in treatment of migrants — it is, after all, the “seat of Islam”.

    I am not a maid, but a 57-year-old male Canadian English language teacher, a victim of white-collar human trafficking. My “kafeel”, Al Shabaka Training Establishment in Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia, is a recruiter of English teachers for King Faisal University. For the past three academic years, Al Shabaka Training has illegally recruited more than six dozen teachers by offering illegal contacts and sponsoring three-month business visit visas which prohibit salaried employment in Saudi Arabia. A typical scam perpetrated across this ersatz Holy Kingdom:

    by J Braun

    Much has been made of recent increased funding of higher education across the Kingdom. The most notable riyal recipient is the acclaimed spanking new KAUST campus, an architectural and high-tech marvel attracting myriad local and international students to quality instruction in co-ed lecture halls and labs.

    Global glory, laud and honor continue to be lavished upon King Abdullah for his remarkable achievements, and admonishments for advancement toward world-class accreditation of this crucial, primarily public, sector. Quite frankly, it is meet and right so to do – as in all of the above: fund, reform, achieve, laud.

    Are media’s songs of praise truly warranted? Yes!

    Yet, higher education is witnessing the sudden proliferation of Preparatory Year Programs. Institutionalized as “pre-freshman” semesters, these serve to augment select high school curricula to assess whether students have the motivation, the abilities, to survive academic rigors inherent in longer term undergraduate endeavors.

    An internationally popular website for foreign teachers of English language reveals the extent to which corruption embraces aspects of these programs within many universities Kingdom-wide, some quite prominent.

    The ESL website provides anecdotal evidence of foreign teachers unwittingly, knowingly, willingly, enthusiastically implicated in contract and visa scams. Recruitment agents and campuses are named.

    These agents, many in collusion with outsourced overseas headhunters, offer illegal contracts and a variety of visas that prohibit salaried employment in KSA. I refer to 3-month business visit visas, tourist visas, and even visas specifying sponsorship of blue-collar workers. These same recruitment and English-course suppliers appoint on-site supervisors inexperienced in human resources, curriculum implementation, and assessment. Academic fraud abounds.

    Aspirants, and successful candidates, with evident glee brazenly mock Labor laws and Interior’s Iqama regulations, thus lending credence to their sponsors’ nefarious machinations to urgently fulfill contractual obligations signed by university administrators. Evidence on the website points to teachers applying under false pretenses: transcripts, health checks, and criminal records. This despite advice from “seasoned KSAers” to proceed with extreme caution or, better, cease interest and apply elsewhere.

    Intermingled with concerns related to women’s safety, health insurance, accommodation quality, security, cultural norms, curriculum implementation, and dysfunctional personnel management styles, there are also inquiries regarding how best to “escape”, the availability of alcohol and drugs, and accessibility to sex, both hetero and otherwise. Then there’s the weekend escapades to Manama’s hotspots. How to avoid re-entry illegal-visa detection?

    Saudi Arabia’s higher education sector currently enjoys an abundance of recruitment agents well attuned to opportunism’s whisper. Many are accustomed to managing blue-collar personnel; the results are predictable. Others express intentions to construct private on-campus colleges with their name prominently displayed at Gate 1.

    A 24-page corruption report commissioned by, and submitted to, relevant authorities 18 months ago concludes: “It would serve the best interests of[students] if recruitment and management of foreign teachers, and curriculum selection and implementation, were the direct, singular, responsibility of competent [university administration] personnel. Recent experience demonstrates that middlemen are using nefarious means by which to secure teachers and maintain their residency, and additionally implement curricula sometimes inappropriate to the academic needs and cultural proclivities of the students.

    “Recent reports in the media indicate that KSA’s education sector is to receive a considerable increase in funding as an impetus to achieve world-class education…The Gulf is generally considered to be a boon opportunity, lucrative for ESL teachers seeking alternatives from their existing overseas postings. Indeed, Saudi Arabia may well experience within the next few years a considerable influx of foreign teachers presently dissatisfied with low salaries and atrocious working conditions primarily in East Asia. Teacher recruitment agents, and their consortiums with overseas institutions, will abound. I have no doubt that many will attempt, as so many already do, to circumvent regulations to their own pecuniary advantage. I trust that the Government of Saudi Arabia seeks to engage more effective proactive measures to monitor and enforce government statutory law.”

    Advancement and accreditation? A matter of, quite simply, integrity.

    – Saudi Gazette __ http://www.saudigazette.com.sa

    I have been without salary for the past 24 months, otherwise engaged in protracted court battles related to wrongful termination. I am trapped in Saudi Arabia, unable to exit because my kafeel will not provide repatriation airfare and, anyway, if I exited, my case would be cancelled.

    Do not, dear reader, recommend me to contact my embassy. I have multiple times. Consular assistance comprises, “Here is a list of recommended English-proficient Saudi lawyers. Thank your for your expression of interest.” Moreover, an urgent email last year to Member of Parliament Candice Hoeppner (Conservative, Portage-Lisgar) resulted in a simple reply a month later: “Contact the embassy in Riyadh.” Small wonder that Canada’s impact in international affairs has become, under the supervision of PM Stephen Harper, diminished.

    I seek restorative justice. The Ministry of Labor’s courts are dysfunctional, counterproductive and littered with judges unaccustomed to dealing with language barriers. I am being educated in Sharia jurisprudence, which includes (1.) denial of right to make an informed and intelligent reply to a specific question asked by the judge (2.) denial of right to provide evidence (3.) denial of right to examine correspondence submitted by defendant to judge within a court hearing (4.) denial of right to discuss my case within a court hearing. The list goes on and on. Violations of Labor’s own Sharia law and United Nations regulations related treatment of migrant workers.

    I fortunately have an advantage over many the majority of other migrant workers, having procured an official English translation of Ministry of Labor laws. I have studied them and easily recognize that Al Shabaka Training has violated well over a dozen.

    My corruption report 22 months ago submitted by royal commission to Ministry of Interior’s Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, cc to the Ministries of Labor and Higher Education, has been for naught. The consequent investigation is labelled Classified. Further corruption reports — conclusive evidence attached — have been submitted to Labor inspectors since then. To no avail!

    Have I mentioned that Al Shabaka Training’s Chairman is multi-millionaire businessman Dr Saadoun Al Saadoun, member of King Abdullah’s otherwise ostensibly righteous Shoura Council?

    This judicial fiasco began in November 2008: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa





    Paragraph 15: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/201

    How’s your Arabic?? http://www.news-sa.com/snews/8


    To the aspiring ESL teacher of any age intent on international experience: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CONSIDER PLACEMENT IN THE GULF REGION, INCLUDING MOST CERTAINLY SAUDI ARABIA. Corruption is modus operandi, despite the advertised glories of Sharia law, within business, higher education and government sectors. The employer-employee relationships “enjoyed” in the domestics employment sector is indicative is human resource management skills gone horribly awry. Compassion, as prescribed by Prophet Mohammad, is less than a mere afterthought.

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