Labor City, Qatar’s creepy new city for migrant workers, is open for business

Do you want to build 2022 World Cup infrastructure in steaming hot Qatar? If so, you may want to look into accommodations in Labor City, the Gulf state’s newest city built specifically for migrant laborers moving to Qatar to work on long-term construction projects.

As of November 1, Labor City is open for business.

Before continuing, please take a moment to appreciate that Qatar, a country with a scandalous labor record, named an actual city “Labor City.”

Thank you.

The city, located 9 miles from Doha’s city center, is split into two sections: a largely residential area that will reportedly house between 100,000 migrant workers, and a business and entertainment district containing four cinemas, two mosques (one of which is Qatar’s second largest), a medical clinic, 49 used car showrooms (??), and over 200 shops to keep workers occupied when they aren’t building entire cities. It’s unclear whether any of the shops will sell armor to shield workers from human rights violations that have been a staple of Qatar’s migrant labor sector for years.

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What a name for a city. At least there will be no misunderstandings about how the city's inhabitants will be viewed.


Reports state that about 60 percent of Labor City’s housing is already occupied, mostly with laborers from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, and India. Much of the cash that will be derived from companies stashing laborers in Labor City will go to the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns 45 percent of Qatar’s Barwa Group, the city’s developer.

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A statement from the Qatari Government Communications Office said that the city, which is the largest of its kind in the Gulf region, “will be a model for the construction of future projects” and that it “reflects the State of Qatar’s keenness on the welfare of all segments of society as part of Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Labor City may be creepy looking (and have a disgraceful name), but hopefully the new city is the start of addressing long-standing migrant housing concerns in Qatar, like a lack of access to drinking water, air conditioning in extreme heat, and reasonable sanitation.

Now satisfy your curiousity and take a YouTube tour of Labor City.