Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy has released a report outlining new standards that will be implemented for contractors building the 2022 Fifa World Cup stadiums, with the aim of improving the working conditions of labourers on these projects.

The committee said the Workers’ Welfare Standards, which were developed with input from the International Labour Organisation, “set clear guidelines that protect the rights of workers throughout the entire chain of contracting, from recruitment to repatriation”.

The standards were developed in response to recent reports that claimed that workers in Qatar’s construction sector were often subject to non-payment of wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, and squalid accommodation.

The new guidelines will require contractors to set up bank accounts for their workers, creating an auditable transaction system that will help the committee verify that all workers are being paid in full and on time.

The standards also establish new criteria for workers accommodation, covering for everything from the number of beds per room to a minimum standard for cleanliness and hygiene.

The guidelines will be enforced using a four-tier audit system, implemented with the support of independent third-party auditors, the committee said. Progress reports based on the audits are to be made public in order to track progress and share lessons learnt with government stakeholders and the international community.

“We have always believed that Qatar’s hosting of the Fifa World Cup would be a catalyst to accelerate positive initiatives already being undertaken by Qatar, which will leave a legacy of enhanced, sustainable and meaningful progress in regards to worker welfare across the country,” said Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. “We already see this progress taking place across Qatar on a daily basis, and will continue to work hard to make our vision become the ever-present reality on the ground.”

The committee added that it conducted its first successful inspection of workers’ accommodation for the early works contractor for Al-Wakrah Stadium in January, noting that the accommodation currently houses 38 workers, representing the total number of workers currently engaged on Supreme Committee construction projects. 

Representatives from some of the largest infrastructure projects in Qatar, including the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Qatar Foundation, are planning to meet in the coming months to discuss adopting a unified standard, in line with the government’s vision for improved social development as part of Qatar National Vision 2030.