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India blacklists 64 Qatar firms

The Indian mission in Qatar has blacklisted firms for non-payment of wages and ill-treatment of workers.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 12:25 IST

As many as 64 Qatari companies have been blacklisted by the Indian embassy in Qatar on charges of salary non-payment, ill-treatment of workers from India and providing sub-standard living conditions, while 34 other companies have been put on a 'watch list'.

This apart, about 30 recruiting agents in India have also been blacklisted for charging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 90,000 from people seeking employment in Qatar in violation of Indian laws, according to a report in the Peninsula newspaper. Of these, as many as 10 are from Kerala, while the other agencies are from Mumbai, Delhi, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

Indians, many of whom come on job contracts, comprise around 18 per cent of Qatar's population of over 885,000. Kerala sends the largest number of Indian workers to Qatar.

Most of the blacklisted companies are in the construction and contracting businesses, the report said. The employers of 54 Indian maids and 26 domestic drivers have also been banned from recruiting Indian workers in future.

The blacklisted firms have been put under the 'prior approval category' (PAC), which, according to the report, means that if at all they make any demand for Indian workers their request will be forwarded to India's labour ministry for approval.

The blacklist has been forwarded by the mission to India's external affairs and labour ministries in New Delhi, the report said.

The embassy will keep a close track on the companies under the 'watch list' and will remove their names from the list only if they improve working and living conditions for Indian workers to the satisfaction of the embassy.

A great majority of the companies have been blacklisted and put under 'watch list' between July last year and now. Prior to that the blacklist barely comprised 11 firms, the report quoted an embassy source saying.

Saying that the move that makes companies in Qatar take mandatory approval from the mission before employing Indian workers is bearing fruit, the source cited an example in which a Qatari company wanted to hire 328 Indian construction workers. The mission then asked the company to revise pay scales by 70 to 80 per cent, which the company agreed to, the embassy source was quoted as saying.

"The company agreed and gave us a list of worker categories with revised salaries," the source said.

It has been made mandatory for Qatari companies wishing to hire Indian workers to convince the embassy that they will provide salaries, living conditions, health benefits and residence permit fees, among other things, strictly according to the local labour laws, the newspaper report said.

Also, Qatari employers will now have to pay $250 to manpower agencies in India per worker.

India's Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi had recently voiced grave concern over recruitment rackets involving Indian workers, especially in the Gulf.