By Mohamed Osman DOHA: Routine and surprise raids on manpower agencies have resulted in cancellation of 15 licences recently, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. There are 282 manpower agencies in the country and 15 have been shut down and their licences revoked in 2014-15 for violating the labour law. This was disclosed by Fawaz Mohamed Nasser Al Rayes, Manager, Recruitment Department at the ministry, in remarks to The Peninsula. There are routine and surprise inspection raids on manpower agencies and the main reasons for cancelling the licences of 15 included repeated complaints, providing wrong information, not complying with requirements, violating the labour law and failure to correct mistakes after warning. The department, which has sections for expatriate workers, recruitment and work permission, also has six male Qatari inspectors with judicial powers. Al Rayes explained that to revoke the licence of a manpower agency, the minister’s approval is required as in the case of issuance of a licence. In the case of a violation, an agency is warned and given 14 days to correct the situation. But if the violation continues without being corrected, the department reports the matter to the legal affairs office of the ministry. As for domestic workers, for three months a worker remains the responsibility of the concerned manpower agency and the recruitment department of the ministry. If one of the parties fails to meet the requirements or the worker fails do the job, the agency is responsible for sending him/her home. After three months, the onus of the worker is on other departments at the ministry and the employer, said Al Rayes. “Draft laws at local and GCC levels are under study and when they take final shape they will be announced. There is coordination with other GCC states through the executive office of the ministry,” said Al Rayes. A committee takes decisions within 48 hours on recruitment applications being filed online through the electronic government. There are no restrictions on hiring workers of any nationality and workers of certain nationalities are not imposed on employers. Employers are free to choose workers of different nationalities and specify their number and get the approval to recruit if they fulfil conditions. He said complaints in this regard have significantly reduced due to increasing awareness of employers, cooperation, regular meetings with agencies, easy communication and easy processing of recruitment applications through offices in Al Muntazah, Al Ruwais, Al Wakrah, Al Khor and Industrial Area in addition to the ministry’s office at the government services centres. Companies need to provide full data for easy communication, including the addresses of the owner, offices and contact person or representative. When an application for recruitment is submitted, within 48 hours companies receive response through SMS on approval or rejection. “When the department receives an application to hire a worker, the first step inspectors take is make sure the company has offices and projects on hand.” This prevents companies from getting “free visas”. The committee considers the application, number of workers, and occupations required on inspectors’ reports,” said Al Rayes. “We have inspectors at the airport (Hamad International) who ensure all newly-arriving workers are picked by their employers,” Al Rayes added.