Qataris have traditionally been uninterested in working at menial jobs and have instead relied on foreign workers in the administration of their country. Locals generally tend to occupy high positions in government ministries and private businesses, but the bulk of the manual labor is performed by Indians and Pakistanis. Unemployment among nationals is believed to be quite low (figures are unavailable). Since 1998, the government has launched a program to encourage Qataris to replace foreign-born laborers. This program also expanded labor training programs for Qatari nationals. No official statistics are available to assess its success.
The Ministry of Interior controls all transactions relating to foreign workers in the country. There is no minimum wage requirement. Salaries are negotiable. Expatriate workers pay for health care and are required to pay annual residency fees in the amount of US$275. According to the U.S. State Department Country Commercial Guide, 2001 , the wives and children of expatriate workers are required to pay US$137 and US$82 respectively in residency fees. Qatar has no tradition of labor unions, although trade associations and labor unions are not forbidden by law.