Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Qataris don't work? Data show that claim isn't true

NEW YORK - MAY 05:  ESPN analyst Jeremy Schaap onstage at the screening and Q&A for "The Natural" at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival on May 5, 2007 in New York City.  (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

NEW YORK - MAY 05: ESPN analyst Jeremy Schaap onstage at the screening and Q&A for "The Natural" at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival on May 5, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

The statement

"Qataris don't really work."

Jeremy Schaap, ESPN host, May 28 on MSNBC

The ruling

Four years ago, Qatar emerged triumphant when the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, better known as FIFA, voted to hold the 2022 World Cup in the oil- and gas-rich emirate. But controversy followed almost as soon as the decision was announced. Qatar's treatment of foreign workers has come into the spotlight.

ESPN host Jeremy Schaap went to Doha to investigate allegations that laborers from India, Nepal and elsewhere were toiling in brutal heat, dying in accidents and locked into jobs with no way to get back home because their passports had been confiscated.

"We're talking about a country that can afford to do better," Schaap said on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. Schaap noted that, per capita, Qatar is the richest nation in the world.

"Qataris don't really work. They don't have to work," Schaap said, claiming that the Qatari government offers generous benefits for the unemployed.

We asked Schaap to clarify. In his response, he dialed down his rhetoric.

"I should have said as laborers on construction sites," Schaap told PunditFact. He added that 94 percent of those workers are foreign — a fact that came up during his MSNBC interview. This led to a further qualification of the more sweeping statement he made on the air.

"It's not quite 'no Qataris,' " he said.

Indeed, official statistics show that most Qataris age 15 and older are employed. According to the CIA's World Factbook, the country has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the world, about 0.3 percent.

According to the latest figures from Qatar's government, a total of 82,000 Qataris are working, out of a total population estimated at 278,000. (Oddly, the government doesn't provide population data by nationality.) That represents 68 percent of men over the age of 15 and 35 percent of women. A large fraction of women are listed as "homemakers" and thus not considered employed. The most common job for men is clerk. The most common job for women is professional.

Schaap does have a point that the government takes good care of its citizens. In 2008, nearly 90 percent of Qataris worked in public-sector jobs. A huge factor here is the state-owned petroleum industry.

The country has more than 1.25 million foreign workers. About 700,000 of them are men working in trades or industrial facilities.

We rate the claim False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at

Qataris don't work? Data show that claim isn't true 06/02/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 9:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000


    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]