A migrant workers spreads dry grass on the ground in Doha ©ILO
Qatar has been a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 1972 and has ratified six conventions including five of the fundamental conventions. Since 2017 Qatar and the ILO have entered into a three-year technical cooperation programme to carry out extensive labour reforms. This focusses on areas including wage levels and payment, reform of the sponsorship system (kafala) and the promotion of workers voice.

Qatar is a high-income economy, backed by one of the world's largest reserves of natural-gas and oil.

In common with other countries in the Gulf, Qatar has turned to migrant labour to help support its rapid development. It is estimated that of its 2.45 million population (Ref: Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics) some two million are migrant workers and of these around 800,000 are employed in construction.

On 8 November 2017 the ILO and Qatar agreed to enter into a comprehensive 3-year technical cooperation programme to support ongoing labour reform measures. Through this initiative, the Government of Qatar expressed a commitment to align its laws and practices with international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, including by implementing related comments of the ILO supervisory bodies. ILO’s Project Office for the State of Qatar was subsequently established in Doha in April 2018 and is supporting the government’s labour reform agenda. “The ILO welcomes the commitment of Qatar to engage in substantive cooperation with the Organization for the promotion and protection of workers’ rights, and looks forward to the successful implementation of the cooperation programme over the next three years,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder at the time of the project's launch.