The emirate of Qatar has closed 12 agencies, most of them based in Mombasa, Kenya, because of the working conditions to which they subjected their employees.
This measure was announced during a conversation between the president of COTU, one of the main Kenyan trade unions with over 1.5 million members, Francis Atwoli, and the Qatari labour minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, in which the two spoke about the working conditions of Kenyans in the emirate.
In addition to this specific fact, a request was brought to the attention of Qatari institutions for greater control over the safety and working conditions of Kenyan emigrants in the country. In response, Qatar has set up teams to inspect working conditions in the country.
For some time now, Kenyan workers have been protesting about the paltry pay they receive in the country, physical and psychological abuse, and the seizure of documents. In 2018, a number of Kenyan workers had been stranded in Qatar, unable to buy airline tickets or expatriate because they lacked ID, held by employment agencies.
Qatar is not the only country where there have been cases of poor working conditions of Kenyans, the phenomenon appears to be widespread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. In Saudi Arabia in particular, at least 89 Kenyan workers are reported to have lost their lives in 2019-2020, but the number could be higher. Interestingly, the main cause of death of Kenyans working in the Arabian Peninsula is reportedly cardiac arrest.