About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

24 February 2015

Migrant Workers

Since Qatar won the right to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022; there has been a lot of focus on migrant workers building the stadiums - and generally migrant workers in the Gulf. Migrant workers are prominent in almost every sphere of Qatari life - on landing at the airport, the first Qatari I met was the immigration officer; and thereafter the policeman at the front of the closed Museum of Islamic Art. In between, flight attendants, airport attendants, shop attendants, hotel staff and even the majority of shop keepers in the souq were migrant workers.

The hotel staff were almost all Filipino. The driver for my transfer back to the airport worked for a hotel in the Philippines before coming to Qatar 3 years ago. He didn't seem to be particularly happy - his salary is not much more, the costs of living in Qatar is high, and he hasn't seen his family (including 5 kids) since he got here (since all his savings are sent back home). He told me that this was the same scenario for all his colleagues - and he (and other colleagues) are even considering going back to Philippines. 

I suspect it is the same story for many of the migrants working in Qatar. Ironically, the face of Qatar is the migrants, and not the Qataris. So it is difficult to work out what the real Qatar is.

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