Indians threatened by influx of Kenyans - Doha Notebook Day 12

Qatar World Cup

A Mowasalat public transport bus at a stage in Al Aziziya, Doha.

Photo credit: Charles Nyende | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The majority of the population in Qatar is made up of migrant workers.
  • Mowasalat buses have been transporting World Cup fans to and from venues.

Indians feeling threatened by influx of Kenyans

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The majority of the population in Qatar is made up of migrant workers. Most come from central Asia – Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Nepalese and Filipinos. Of this migrant working population, the majority are from the Indian subcontinent. You meet them everywhere, as taxi drivers, shop attendants, bank officials, delivery men etc. Some have been heard complaining that there are now too many Kenyans in Qatar who are threatening their jobs. Indeed, Qatar is full of Kenyans earning a living. Many were here before but there has been a noticeable increase of them during this World Cup period, working as guides, marshalls, security officers etc.

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Few benefits for expatriates here in Qatar

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In contrast to how well the state treats a Qatari citizen, foreign workers do not enjoy the largess of this rich government. For example, the government can only provide use of medical facilities to foreigners and expects companies to provide their employees with medical insurance cover. The Qatari government, even though it could afford it, actually encourages private companies to insure their workers. Foreign workers are not entitled to pension and must organize their own plans for saving for retirement. Some workers end up deducting from their pay some amount to send to a pension scheme they belong to back at home. Foreigners are paid a basic salary with no statutory deductions. So there is no PAYE for them.

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Government public transporter Mowasalat to go fully electric by January

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While Kenya is still grappling with the dilemma of whether to get 14-seater matatus off the road or not, here in Doha the government has committed to withdrawing all public buses that use combustion engines. In other words the one and only public transport provider in the country, government parastatal Mowasalat, that operates about 3,600 buses countrywide, will discontinue the use of all their diesel engine buses and have a fleet that is only electric.

Mowasalat buses have been transporting World Cup fans to and from venues. Their brand new e-buses can be seen darting along the extensive network of roads in this country with no discernible carbon emission, a stark contrast to the smoke-belching contraptions in Kenya.  

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