Transnational Labour Migration: Experiences of Mid-to-Highly Skilled African Migrant Workers in Doha, Qatar
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This study sought to augment the dearth of research on African labour migration to the GCC and Qatar. The study focuses on younger mid-to-highly skilled Africans (from Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) currently working in Qatar. Attention was given to how racialized positioning intersected with other variables such as nationality, gender and class to shape migrant worker experiences. The study also considered those who migrated to Qatar as organization-sponsored workers and those on so-called free visas. Based on data gathered from 12 Skype and WhatsApp interviews, findings revealed how the sponsorship system gives employers power over employees, often preventing workers from switching jobs—particularly in the case of organization-sponsored workers—and in the case of those on free visas, creating vulnerability to visa racketeering. The study identified further modalities of exploitation such as salary delay and job insecurity, that added to the challenges of remitting money to family members in countries of origin. A majority of participants expressed the desire to eventually leave Qatar and migrate once again to Western countries where they imagined there would be better opportunities for professional growth, children’s education and naturalization.