Qataris call for relocation of expatriate bachelors to ease living conditions

December 27, 2010

Qatar’s Central Municipal Council (CMC) has urged the private sector to promote awareness about local customs and traditions among its foreign employees in a bid to ease simmering tension between locals and expatriates.

The request follows a string of complaints by Qatari nationals about “lack of respect and menaces from expatriate bachelors to local values and traditions” and calls to relocate them in specifically designated areas.

“The workers must be told by their employers to dress properly and not create nuisance in residential localities,” Shaikha Al Jefairi, a CMC member, said.

Qataris told Qatar Radio’s morning call-in programme ‘Good Morning, Qatar’ that they were uneasy and felt “threatened” by single workers living in their midst in large numbers, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Monday.

However, Shaikha said that people “must have some patience and wait for the relevant law to be enforced.”

“Regulations that ban foreigners’ accommodation camps in residential localities might take one or even two years to be implemented. Until then I urge families to have patience,” she said, quoted by the daily.

Rules on re-locating the accommodation camps have been passed, but companies have been given a year’s grace period to make alternative arrangements and shift them to designated areas outside localities where families live.

“Almost every morning we hear of complaints from fellow nationals about single workers living in their midst ands making their lives difficult. Even in my area (Old Airport) there are a lot of accommodation camps,” she said. “So until the regulations are enforced, the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), representative body of the private sector, should convene a meeting of member-companies and ask them to make their workers aware of local customs and traditions and to respect them,” she said.

A Qatari national who called the radio programme to say that he has lodged a police complaint against single workers living in a house near his home, attributed his move to an attempt to put an end to their “nuisance.”

“We feel so much threatened by this high number of workers living next to us that I do not venture out of home any time of the day or night for fear my family could face trouble,” the man told the radio programme.

Companies said they have not yet been allocated areas where to shift their accommodation camps and are awaiting guidelines from the government.

“Rentals for labour camps in the Industrial Area have increased manifold over the past few years due to increasing demand and there is hardly any space available now,” the manager of a large construction company said, quoted by the paper.

“If we shift our camps to the new Industrial Area or some other far-off place, the cost of transportation would go up and productivity would decrease since the time taken in transporting workers to sites and back to their accommodation would more than triple. We are going to face a lot of problems, including rising costs and reduced productivity. We know that one day we have to relocate our workers from residential areas,” he said.

According to media reports, around one million more workers are expected to arrive in Qatar for the mega projects that are to be executed over the next 12 years for the 2022 World Cup.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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