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The New Arab

Qatar offers work scheme to Salvadoran migrants facing expulsion from US

Some 200,000 Salvadoran migrants will be forced to leave the US by 2019 [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 January, 2018

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In wake of Trump's decision to remove TPS for Salvadoran immigrants, Qatar responds with offers of work and residency.
El Salvador is reportedly in discussions with Qatar over a potential migrant work scheme that could see Salvadorans facing deportation in the US relocated to the oil-rich gulf state to live and work temporarily.

The reports come soon after US President Donald Trump announced his intention to rescind the temporary protected status (TPS) afforded to some 200,000 Salvadoran migrants living in the US since the country was hit by two devastating earthquakes in 2001. 

The US Department for Homeland Security announced on Monday that Salvadoran immigrants with TPS must leave the country in the next 18 months, or change their immigration status.

Salvadoran chief of presidential communications Eugenio Chicas said the country was in talks to see how Salvadorans could be employed in Qatar, one of the wealthiest countries in the planet which is abound with job opportunities, ahead of its hosting of the football World Cup in 2022.

"The kingdom of Qatar... has held out the possibility of an agreement with El Salvador whereby Salvadoran workers could be brought across in phases [to Qatar]," Chicas told reporters on Tuesday.

The scheme would be temporary, however Chicas did not specify how long the period of work and residency would be, or how many workers the programme would take on.

Salvadorans could work in engineering, aircraft maintenance, construction and agriculture, said El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martinez, who is in Qatar until Friday.

Foreign workers make up a whopping 88% of Qatar's
population, however serious concerns have been raised over
modern slavery practices prevalent in the Gulf country [Getty]

Qatar has also offered to provide health services to the Central American country, added Martinez.

El Salvador has been struggling with a weak economy and some of the highest homicide rates in the world, due to staggering levels of gang violence and organised crime.

Qatar has a long history of hiring large numbers of foreign workers, who now make up over 90 percent of the country's population of roughly 2.6 million. The majority of migrant workers come from South Asia.

The Gulf country has come under fire in recent years for the appalling working conditions many migrant labourers are subjected to, which have drawn comparisons to modern-day slavery.

Qatar recently pledged to improve human rights for foreigners, by introducing a $200 per month minimum wage, as well as allowing workers freedom to leave the country and change jobs without their employer's permission.

Agencies contributed to this report

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