Doha, capital of Qatar. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Doha, capital of Qatar. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of migrant workers, including Filipinos, have been unpaid for months by a company working on infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a report by a major non-governmental organization.

Amnesty International said Mercury MENA had failed to pay its workers thousands of dollars in wages and work benefits. The NGO alleges that at least 78 employees from Nepal, India and the Philippines have not been paid since 2016, the Manila Standard reported.

“Many Mercury MENA employees had made huge sacrifices and taken out ruinous loans to take jobs in Qatar. They ended up working unpaid for months on end,” said Steve Cockburn, director of global issues at Amnesty International.

One worker from the Philippines named Ernesto told Amnesty International that he was in greater debt after working in Qatar for two years than before he arrived in the country.

The NGO claimed that the company took advantage of the kafala (sponsorship) system, which does not allow workers to change jobs or leave the county without permission from their boss.

“We will continue to pressure the Qatar authorities until promises of overhauling the sponsorship system are delivered, and workers’ rights are fully protected – both in law and practice,” Cockburn said.