The Vietnamese Are Finding Out How the Qataris Do Business

The corpse of a Vietnamese worker in Qatar arrived in Vietnam yesterday, two months after he died, said a representative of the Labor Export-Trading and Tourist Co., (Sovilaco).

The worker, a native of Ninh Binh Province, died at a house for Vietnamese guest workers August 24, 2007, three months after Sovilaco sent him to Qatar to work as a bricklayer, said a Sovilaco representative.

Sovilaco explained the corpse was transferred two months late because the worker died during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, this year held over September 13 to October 13. How, specifically, this might have delayed the repatriation of a corpse was apparently not explained.

Sovilaco did add, however, that the company still lacks facilities for monitoring and aiding Vietnamese laborers posted in the Middle East – an admission which may indeed illuminate the issue a bit.

Sovilaco said it was now negotiating with its partner in Qatar to provide the worker’s family with three months’ worth of the late worker’s former salary, plus some form or insurance or pension. To date, Sovilaco has provided the worker’s family with a mere VND25 million (US$1,500), the terms of which were not described.

Too many returns

Vietnamese laborers sent to Qatar as guest workers are often poorly compensated, said one worker recently returned from Qatar.

Le Huu Sau, a bricklayer, told Thanh Nien Daily many Vietnamese laborers sign con-tracts with Sovilaco to work in Qatar because the contracts promise quite lucrative returns, yet they rarely receive as much as they’re promised.

Another Qatar guest worker, Nguyen An Ninh, said some twenty Vietnamese working with him at a construction site in Qatar had to wait two months before receiving only half of their first month’s salary.

Then they were sent to another Qatar-based company, Badr Co., under new labor contracts they were pressured to sign – apparently without receiving their out-standing salaries from the first company.

“In three months alone, Badr Co. renewed our contracts four times,” Dang Ngoc Trung said, “each time haggling to pay us less than in the last contract.” Seven guest workers who refused to sign new contracts ended up with too little money to return home.

Asked about those workers’ fates, Sovilaco said their families would have to pay their air fares if they wanted to return. A one-way ticket between Vietnam and Qatar costs VND6 million (US$373).

“I took out a bank loan for my son to work aboard,” lamented one mother. “Now I’ll have to borrow money for the fare to fly him home.”

Source:, Viet nam