LONDON - The Qatari ambassador to Nepal amassed millions of dollars from suspicious operations to employ foreign workers in the Gulf emirate of Qatar, according to diplomatic sources.
The Gulf country has been facing criticism for inadequate legal protections afforded to hundreds of thousands of citizens from developing countries working on projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
In an interview last December with Khabarhub, Yousuf Bin Mohamed Ahmed Al-Hail, the Qatari ambassador to Nepal denounced the exploitation of Nepalese migrant labourers by "illegal manpower offices" and "trafficking agents".
"Migrant workers are important for the benefit of both countries and therefore their rights should be preserved and protected," he said.
The envoy also boasted about "the respect and appreciation of the leadership of the State and the Qatari people" have for Nepalese workers.
But diplomatic sources revealed that the Qatari envoy was suspected of exploiting Nepalese labourers.
They stated that the Qatari ambassador has used the recruitment services of the Nepalese employment agency Sky Overseas Services to skim a profit out of every hiring deal.
The sources alleged that he offered each employee who was recruited through the company a nominal monthly salary of $400, but paid Nepalese workers only $100 a month.
The allegations are the latest in a series of reports that have unmasked Qatar’s human rights abuses of foreign workers.
Some two million foreigners work in Qatar, many employed directly or indirectly on vast infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup.
An independent UN expert warned last month that migrant workers in Qatar were facing discrimination because of their nationality, racial identity, stereotyping and the "prevalence" of profiling.
"For many people living in Qatar, their capacity to enjoy human rights fully is mediated by their nationality or national origin," the UN's special rapporteur on racism and discrimination Tendayi Achiume said.
In February, the gas-rich Gulf state said it was committed to labour reforms, following an Amnesty International report that it was failing to stop widespread abuse of workers.
Human rights groups accuse Qatar of mistreating and exploiting foreign workers have often find themselves burdened by the debt of high recruitment fees, working long hours for low pay, and living in sub-standard accommodation
Headquartered in Kathmandu, Sky Overseas Services, Ltd, presents itself as a "leading overseas employment consultant in Nepal" that works "to meet the growing demand for Nepalese workforce abroad to alleviate growing unemployment in the country."
The company provides "semi-skilled and un-skilled manpower" as well as skilled workers from Nepal on demand.
Sources point to the involvement of the Qatari envoy in another scheme involving the recruitment by a Qatari security company of 600 Nepalese employees based on a salary of $ 1,500 a month for each applicant.
Contrary to Qatar employers' claims that no recruitment fees are required of job applicants, the Qatari envoy used the security company's contract to receive a $ 9,000 fee from each Nepalese applicant. The total amount estimated to have been paid by the 600 employees applying for work in Qatar reached over $ 5 million.
No clarification has been issued by the Qatari envoy of by the Doha authorities about the allegations.