Image Credit: Gulf News

Manama: Women expatriates on independent work visas can now sponsor their husbands and children, Qatari media reported on Wednesday.

"The new sponsorship law allows women workers to sponsor their families. Earlier, only female expatriate working for Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Ministry of Education were allowed to sponsor their families," a senior labour official was quoted as saying by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

However, the new privilege is extended to women working in the private sector as well to those who have independent work visas who earn a monthly salary of at least QR7,000 ($1,920).

The minimum salary clause does not apply to government employees who are provided with family accommodation.

According to the unnamed labour officials, the minimum salary may be reviewed based on living costs.

Activists from Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) have often called for the amendment of the law regulating the sponsorship system to help put an end to arbitrary practices by some employers.

Dr Ali Al Marri, NHRC secretary general, said that the committee persistently called for changing the current sponsorship system to make it more respectful of human rights.

The sponsorship system has invariably come under harsh criticism, with Bahrain's labour minister calling it a form of modern-day slavery.

While supporters say that the system is an effective form of immigration control, opponents say that its rules and regulations are so strict that the employers fully rule the employees and dictate their movements.