As the eyes of the globe shifted towards Qatar during the 2022 World Cup, media reports focused on the working conditions and deaths of migrant workers building Qatar’s infrastructure and in the Middle East at large. Indeed, throughout Jordan, Lebanon, and all the Gulf Arab states, a system for migrant labor called kafala has been in place for decades. Under this system, states give employers sponsorship permits to bring in foreign workers, which bind workers to their employers and allow for exploitation. To explore the persistence of the kafala problem and analyze the possible avenues for lasting reform, GJIA sits down with Ryszard Cholewinski, the Senior Migration Specialist in the International Labor Organization’s Regional Office for Arab States in Beirut.
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