Head Of ILO’s Qatar Office Discusses Labor Market Reforms On Georgetown Research Podcast

Press release
Published March 7th, 2021 - 01:05 GMT
Head Of ILO’s Qatar Office Discusses Labor Market Reforms On Georgetown Research Podcast
Houtan Homayounpour portrait.
Highlights
Houtan Homayounpour, discussed the ongoing labor reforms led by the State of Qatar and supported by the ILO on a podcast hosted by QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).

The head of the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) Project Office in Qatar, Houtan Homayounpour, discussed the ongoing labor reforms led by the State of Qatar and supported by the ILO on a podcast hosted by QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).

The GU-Q podcast features scholars and experts working in fields related to sports and society, and is part of the Building a Legacy: Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 research initiative at the university’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). The research project seeks to examine the implications of staging one of the world’s largest sporting events on the social, political, and economic development of Qatar, as well as on regional and global affairs.

Homayounpour oversaw the implementation of a comprehensive three-year program supporting the labor reform agenda of Qatar. In the interview conducted by the head of the CIRS research initiative, Visiting Associate Professor Dr. Danyel Reiche, he answered questions about the labor market and the future of labor law reforms beyond the World Cup.

Homayounpour praised Qatar for using the World Cup as an opportunity to institutionalize major changes including the removal of the exit visa for domestic workers, the establishment of a non-discriminatory permanent minimum wage, and the removal of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) requirement for job transfer, saying “they adopted the legislative changes that they promised.” He also expressed confidence that the country’s commitment to strengthening its labor market would continue beyond the tournament.

The ILO representative shared promising signs of increased private sector interest in joint committees that bring company management and elected worker representatives to the table for dialogue and discussions. "It's really incredible what has happened in the past three years, in such a short period of time,” he said, adding that the implementation phase of any reforms on a national scale will take time. He explained that the changes improve migrant welfare and contribute to Qatar’s economy by fostering competition in the private sector, though challenges remain.

Homayounpour credited the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders in pushing through the recent reforms, including the country’s leadership, government ministries, NGOs, labor unions, and various UN organizations. “Any mega sporting event has the potential to bring visibility and to be used as a platform for dialogue between different stakeholders. And that's what happened here. It opened the window of opportunity for different partners to engage.” 

Information about the Building a Legacy initiative including blogs, podcasts, events, and the full interview with Houtan Homayounpour is available through the GU-Q CIRS website at https://cirs.qatar.georgetown.edu/

Background Information

Georgetown University in Qatar

Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation, seeks to build upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind.

Located in Doha’s Education City, GU-Q offers the same internationally recognized Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree as Georgetown’s Capitol Campus in Washington, DC. This unique, interdisciplinary program prepares students to tackle the most important and pressing global issues by helping them develop critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills within an international context. GU-Q alumni work in leading local and international organizations across industries ranging from finance to energy, education, and media. The Qatar campus also serves as a residency and delivery location for the Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management along with the Executive Master’s in Leadership.

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.

Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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