Labour migration

Ensuring fair recruitment through the Qatar Visa Center in Sri Lanka

ILO brings together government, trade unions and civil society to discuss progress on fair recruitment through Qatar Visa Centers.

Noticia | 18 de junio de 2019
18 June 2019 – A broad range of migration stakeholders in Sri Lanka have met to discuss progress on ensuring fair recruitment for migrant workers through the Qatar Visa Center (QVC) in Colombo. Established by the State of Qatar in October 2018, the Colombo QVC is part of a network of QVCs established across several countries of origin, which aim to make the recruitment and deployment procedures faster and more transparent for both potential migrant workers and employers in Qatar, as well as eliminate contract deception.

Established by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs of the State of Qatar, the QVCs facilitate procedures for migrant workers by allowing applicants in many sectors to digitally sign work contracts, enrol their biometric data and undergo mandatory medical testing before departure. Upon completion of the process, visa applicants are able to track the status of the application online. All the required services of the QVC are free of charge for migrant workers and directly paid by employers through bank transfer.

One of the innovative functions of the QVCs is that they serve as an important channel to reduce deception at the recruitment phase and provide workers with detailed information about their rights and obligations, including what living and working in Qatar will be like.  Workers can now read their exact contract terms before migrating; giving them greater autonomy to reconsider, if the terms do not correspond to their expectations.

QVCs have been opened in multiple cities in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, with plans to also establish centers in Indonesia, the Philippines, Tunisia and Kenya.

The ILO is providing technical advice on the development of the Qatar Visa Centers through its Project Office for the State of Qatar, and support to the dissemination of the QVC procedures among trade unions and civil society organizations in countries of origin through its Global Action to Improve the Recruitment Framework of Labour Migration.

At the roundtable discussion held in Colombo, representatives of the Qatar Ministry of Interior, the Qatar Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), the Sri Lanka National Trade Union Federation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Community Development Services, Helvetas Sri Lanka, and the Social Welfare Organization Ampara District met to discuss progress and areas for improvement in the functioning of the QVCs as well as ways to ensure job seekers are aware of the new procedures.

The SLBFE indicates that over 200,000 Sri Lankans registered to migrate for employment in 2017, with the vast majority headed to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Qatar.