RSIS Seminar by Mr Aakash Jayaprakash, Public Policy Graduate Student, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; and Founding Director, Migrant Support – Qatar
The Migrant Worker Experience in Qatar: Illicit Recruitment, Normalized Trafficking, and their Solutions
The issue of migrant workers in Qatar has been receiving significant global media coverage over the past two years. Against the backdrop of a more globally prominent Qatar and the Gulf, the discussion will highlight some of the key issues affecting migration to Qatar. The migration cycle from recruitment, arrival into the country, the living and working experience and ultimately repatriation will be examined. Fraught with corruption within the recruitment system, the transnational nature of this crime and associated risks are portrayed. A socio- political analysis of the root causes of why workers choose to come to Qatar, and the systems that govern their relationship with the state will be be explored and analyzed. The historical origin of the sponsorship or ‘kafala’ system that establishes migrants’ legal residency in Qatar will be highlighted. The many complications placed on migrant workers by recruitment agencies, and brokers are highlighted along with their human impact. Unethical recruitment practices are utilized by agents to sell false hopes of high paying jobs in Qatar to workers who inadvertently end up being trafficked. The government systems in place to manage migrants in Qatar are examined including redress mechanisms through a rights- based approach. Positive steps taken by the Qatar Foundation, and civil society groups in creating change shall be highlighted.
About the Speaker:
Aakash Jayaprakash majored in International Politics with a Certificate in Arab and Regional Studies from Georgetown University. He is currently a Public Policy graduate student at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of NUS. Based in Qatar, Aakash has been heavily involved in migrant labor issues for eight years. He is the founding director of Migrant Support- Qatar, a local grassroots group network providing assistance to workers in distress. He also worked with the Qatar Foundation on drafting and implementing the Mandatory Standards for Worker Welfare for workers in Qatar. His research work has included the illicit recruitment channels from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Aakash has also consulted for Amnesty International, the United Nations and the International Labor Organization on issues of migrant workers and human rights.
Organised by RSIS Events Unit.