Human Rights Watch has called for FIFA to establish a system to investigate abuses against migrant workers in Qatar to help ©Getty Images

Migrant workers at a Qatari trading and construction firm connected with projects related to the upcoming FIFA World Cup have reportedly not received wages for up to five months, according to Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said it has spoken with four employees at the Bin Omran Trading and Contracting (BOTC) company, who said they had not been paid for five months.

The employees are claimed to have accumulated significant debt to meet their living expenses, while they claim the size of the workforce has reduced in recent months as employees have left either because their contracts were completed or terminated or wage abuse.

The employees have claimed wages for the remaining workers have been delayed by two months in some cases and five months in others, in apparent violation of Qatar’s labor law, which requires employers to pay wages in full and on time.

Human Rights Watch said complaints had been lodged to the Labor Ministry, the Labor Court, the Qatari police, and the National Human Rights Commission in February.

One employee said despite an assurance from the Qatari police that they would be paid at the end of February, this promise has not yet been fulfilled.

Human Rights Watch said the BOTC company are working on projects related to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, including the Al-Bayt Stadium in al-Khor, which will host matches at the tournament.

Roads surrounding the stadium and the New Orbital Highway project, which will connect Doha's downtown areas to several stadiums, are also among projects involving the company.

Human Rights Watch has called on FIFA to establish a system to investigate abuses against migrant workers in Qatar, connected to the World Cup.

The organisation has said compensation should be provided to workers who have experienced wage delays or theft.

"With only nine months to go until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, migrant workers who are making the games possible under difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions face repeated delayed and unpaid wages," said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"While Qatari authorities invest in major public relations efforts to draw attention to labour reforms, they rarely put their money where their mouths are when it comes to migrant workers’ rights."

Human Rights Watch said the BOTC company worked on the Al-Bayt Stadium project ©Getty Images
Human Rights Watch said the BOTC company worked on the Al-Bayt Stadium project ©Getty Images

Concerns over workers' rights have been regularly raised in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup.

Human Rights Watch previously published a report in 2020, titled "'How Can We Work Without Wages?': Salary Abuses Facing Migrant Workers Ahead of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022".

The report sought to document how direct employers and labour supply companies in Qatar frequently delay, withhold, or arbitrarily deduct workers' wages.

The Qatari Government claims it has made progress on labour reforms, including a shift away from the Kafala System which forced foreign workers to seek their employers' consent to change jobs or leave the country.

FIFA has suggested that while more can be done, hosting the World Cup had helped to instigate labour reforms in Qatar.

In November, however, Amnesty International reported that progress had stalled over the previous 12 months, with exploitative elements of the Kafala System re-emerging.

Following concerns over the heat and humidity in Qatar, the World Cup later this year has been moved from its usual slot in June and July.

The tournament is scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 18.