Many people are reluctant to discuss poverty in Qatar, despite it being one of the world’s wealthiest nations. The Qatari administration is strict about addressing this issue, leading to limited public discourse. The country’s substantial oil revenue, approximately $219 billion, attracts foreign migrants seeking employment opportunities.

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Qatar’s population is around 3 million, with only 10% being native Qataris; the rest are expatriates. Officially, Qatar claims to have eliminated poverty, but the reality is different for many migrants from South Asia, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. While they enjoy a comparatively better lifestyle in Qatar, their low wages often force them to share cramped living quarters with five other people to send money back home.

In 2020, Qatar abolished the Kafala System, which had given employers significant control over migrant workers. Although many countries have since abandoned this system, some challenges persist in addressing worker exploitation and human rights abuses.

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To secure employment in Qatari companies, migrants often had to pay agencies fees ranging from $500 to $3,500, leading to significant debt burdens due to high-interest rates. Qatar has implemented labor laws penalizing companies that still follow the Kafala System.

According to Amnesty International, some companies continue to pressure employees not to change jobs. Various countries’ embassies report that over 6,500 laborers have died during construction since Qatar began hosting the World Cup. While Qatar attributes most of these deaths to aging-related illnesses, discrepancies in data persist, raising concerns about working conditions and safety.

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