DOHA: Middle East is losing its charm as a preferred destination for migrant workers of major manpower exporting countries in Asia.
This is largely due to relatively lower wages, hints a report on workers’ recruitment commissioned by Qatar Foundation released earlier this week.
Wages, particularly in the GCC states, have stagnated leading to lower recruitment fees than for regions like Europe, and some Asian nations like Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.
So those who are still prepared to work in Qatar may be less informed, deceived and the poorest who are willing to accept the jobs available and affordable, notes the report. Interestingly, some migrant workers may not even know which country they are going to until the last minute. “Some accept that the recruitment agency will decide their destination.”
Some labour supply companies in Doha interviewed for the above report said that workers from Nepal were not interested to come to Qatar because of low wage levels. “They are now more interested in Malaysia and Singapore,” said the report.
For Philippines, it is not worth bringing low-skilled Filipinos because of the costs to a company. So, skilled workers from there are preferred.
When asked about the observation that salaries among nationalities might vary in Qatar even for the same job, the answer was that it is merely a market practice.
Asked about the salary grading, it was explained that Filipinos were on the top, followed by Indians and Sri Lankans, while Nepalis and Bangladeshis were on the same rung.
According to the report, workers for the construction sector in Qatar are hard to find in Sri Lanka. This is because of large infrastructure development projects going on in the island nation after the end of the ethnic war.
The tourism and hospitality industries are also developing in Sri Lanka, said the Qatar Foundation report.
Talking of abuse and exploitation of foreign workers, the report hints, citing an example, that the minimum $400 monthly salary fixed by the Philippine government for Filipina domestic workers might be to mainly try and reduce the demand from the Middle East due to complaints of abuse and exploitation.