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Qatar Denies Violating new Labor Law by Blocking Migrants from Leaving the Country

The Qatari government confirmed that 213 out of 184,551 requests for exit permits had been denied, but said this was because the individuals were facing criminal charges.

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FILE- In this photo taken during a government-organized media tour, an official makes a point using a scale model of the Al-Wakra Stadium, to be used during the 2022 World Cup, in Doha, Qatar,
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Qatar on Thursday denied it was violating a new labor law by blocking migrants from leaving the country, saying it was committed to enforcing reforms to improve the rights of millions of foreign workers.

A new law making it easier for migrants to change jobs and leave the oil-rich Gulf state — where many of them have been recruited to build soccer stadiums ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup — came into effect in December.

But rights groups say the new law is not being enforced and that scores of migrant workers from countries such as India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been refused permission to leave the country since the law was passed.

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The Qatari government said in a statement that any suggestion it was not committed to enforcing the reforms or that it was denying the freedom of movement of foreign workers was “false.”

Around 90 percent of Qatar’s 2.5 million population are migrants. Many works in low-paid construction jobs to build stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup competition.

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But Doha’s “kafala” sponsorship system — under which migrants cannot change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission — has come under scrutiny in recent years, with allegations that the system amounts to forced labor.

Law on permits

Qatar passed a law December 13 that scrapped the need for migrants to get exit permits from employers and imposed fines on employers who confiscated workers’ passports and withheld their salaries.

But trade unionists say migrants still require an exit permit from the government — and that more than 200 migrants have been blocked from leaving Qatar since the law was passed.

The Qatari government confirmed that 213 out of 184,551 requests for exit permits had been denied, but said this was because the individuals were facing criminal charges.

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“We have explicitly stated that expatriates would be prevented from leaving Qatar if there is strong evidence that the expatriate has committed fraud or is attempting to evade prosecution for a crime,” the government statement said.

The International Labor Organization has given Doha until November to implement the reforms or potentially face an investigation into the forced labor of migrants in the lead-up to hosting the World Cup. VOA

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)