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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Checklist: Tips on what to do before leaving Qatar for good

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As the annual summer exodus of expats preparing to repatriate to their home countries begins, the British Embassy in Doha has drawn up a list of essential administrative things to do to ensure a smooth exit.

Leaving Qatar for good entails filling out a lot of paperwork, regarding home rentals, school enrollments, bank accounts and other factors.

The “Checking Out” campaign includes a list of important reminders of matters that require attention to avoid clashing with the authorities at the last minute.

Published online and aimed to assist some of the 20,000 Britons living in Qatar, much of the advice included also applies to residents of other nationalities who are leaving the country.

The advice echoes a similar social media campaign launched earlier this month by the British mission in Abu Dhabi, which tweeted highlights from its checklist over the course of a week.

Don’t forget

The checklist includes tips on closing out bank accounts, credit cards and loans; terminating employment and sorting visas, finishing accommodation contracts; and releasing oneself from liabilities like cars and other possessions.

It reminds residents that all debts have to be cleared before leaving Qatar, and that non-payment of a debt is a criminal offense that could result in a prison sentence.

The embassy also warns that even if residents with outstanding debts manage to leave, they risk being arrested if they try to return to Qatar – even if they are just transiting through Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Forward planning appears to be key, as the paperwork involved in canceling bank accounts and credit cards can be time-consuming. The embassy advises starting the process at least two months before leaving the country.

It added that all credit cards and loans should be fully paid off and bank accounts emptied. Confirmation of these should be sought from the relevant banks.

A bank clearance letter is also required from employers, and a forwarding address should be left for future correspondence.

It advises those whose contract is ending to ensure they hand over their passport to their employer so they can cancel the residence permit.

“Failure to do so could delay your departure or mean you are marked on the immigration system as an absconder,” the embassy said.

It also reminded residents to:

  • Request an end-of-service gratuity payout statement and payment from your employer, warning that the embassy does not mediate in employment disputes;
  • Return medical cards;
  • Give notice to your landlord in accordance with the conditions of your lease;
  • Collect deposits from utilities, phone and internet companies and cancel all accounts;
  • Sell any cars before leaving, or arrange through a lawyer for a friend to have power of attorney to do this on your behalf;
  • Prepare to sell or ship your belongings, noting that it can take at least six weeks for shipments to travel from Qatar to the UK;
  • Give notice to children’s schools, in accordance with their leaving policies. Arrange for the necessary transfer letters or certificates, reports and collect any deposits paid;
  • Secure a police clearance certificate if your future employer requires one. This can be arranged from CEID on Salwa Road. This can also be arranged through the Qatar Embassy in London, but in this case can take up to three months; and
  • Make sure that if you are traveling with a pet, you have completed all the necessary paperwork in advance. Details on the required documents for returning to the UK can be found at the British government’s website here.

What tips would you give to residents who are about to move out of Qatar? Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Say thank you.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

On the assumption that your employer said thank you?

Boyboy
Boyboy
6 years ago

Umm… Never come back?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

This echoes similar advice from the Flilpino embassy.

“If you are planning to leave Qatar and return home to our beautiful country, remember to take out the maximum loan from the bank as possible, if your company also gives loans max that out as well. Send all money to the Phillipines. Then approach your boss and HR Dept and state you need to return home on emergency leave as your mother only has days to live”

“Get on plane with your exit permit secured and never return.”

Boy_08
Boy_08
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

For real??? I mean Ive been in the ME for a loooong time and this is the first time Ive heard of this.

Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse
6 years ago
Reply to  Boy_08

This is quite common especially among low paid workers. Banks will advance unsecured loans equivalent to many months salary. These loans are not necessarily taken out immediately before leaving but they are frequently outstanding at the end of the employment contract. The worker simply disappears in their home country. Personal experience suggests that between 5% and 10% will take advantage of this. Banks will occasionally contact the employer to try to chase the debt but the assumption is that they view this as an acceptable default rate.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I think those loans are insured, so eventually even if you do not pay your loan the insurance will pay back the bank. It is up to the insurance later to take the matter to courts in your home country (I think the UAE banks and insurers started doing it in the UK)

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

If the amount is small it is not worth their while chasing the absconder. They recover the loss from the next batch of suckers that apply for loans.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Boy_08

Yep and some stupid banks now lend 20 times basic salary. Madness

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

So in that case, is the employer responsible for paying back the loan?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

No. The debt is the individuals responsiblity. Although banks try to pressure employers as somehow they are responsible.

zeit
zeit
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

And the stereotyping of Filipinos begin.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  zeit

???

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  zeit

It applies to many nationalities. For satires sack I picked one. Do you feel better now?

YWN (YourWorstNightmare)
YWN (YourWorstNightmare)
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Unless MIMH can produce the source or url link of using the Filipino embassy making these statements. This is not acceptable making false statement and MIMH should be held responsible. Thank you.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Deleting for stereotyping.

ali
ali
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Banks wil chase u in home country is it possible

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  ali

Depends and is legally dubious as the banks will not have any jurisdiction in the person’s home country. They even make threats about Interpol which is laughable. Interpol are not interested in some Indonesian who has skipped Qatar owing $50,000 to a stupid bank.

What some do is sell the debt on to a debt collection agency in the person’s country but again they cannot enforce payment legally, but then some nasty men come to your house and threaten you and your family if you don’t pay up

ali
ali
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If some nasty men and unsocial elementd and hireling goondas men come to ur home and threatn our family it is a mental torture even if u complain to police no use what next step

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Don’t forget to cancel the laban.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

From a colleagues’ experience…..1. If you have to leave your account open to receive the deposit back from your thieving landlord…..be prepared to endure endless pain to get your money transferred to your home account. You cannot use internet banking because you cannot receive the code on your phone when out of Qatar, and the many faxes that you send will be ignored for at least 3 weeks.
2. Engage the services of a friend to confront your landlord who has deducted a sum from your deposit for non-existent damage and for the “amount outstanding to Kehrama” which you’ve already paid off direct.
3. Be prepared for a fight with Ooredoo when trying to close your telephone account. Stand firm and you will win.
3. Never leave until all wages and grants that are due to you have been transferred to your bank (following endless phone calls to your employers useless HR section). This took 12 days for my mate as the “form signed by the FD got lost”.
4. Find a derelict bicycle and ship it back free as part of your baggage. Load the bicycle case with your excess baggage.
5. Take a picture of the exit gate as the most welcome sight of Qatar that you’ve ever seen
6. Have a gin-and tonic asap on the flight and scream to yourself “I’m free”
7. Kiss the first available piece of ground after leaving the aircraft.

jackwhacker
jackwhacker
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

hahahahaha <3

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

QDC deposit

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

That’s easy to get back. Best run business in Qatar. Qatari trainees should work there on six month development programs to help them move into the workforce

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

That is right. With the monopolistic position it has, QDC could be much worse.

Rahma
Rahma
6 years ago

Good to know

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

Some employers force you to leave for good on exit visa n refuse to cancel it. So that they can label u as absconded ..as punishment for leaving the company.

sk
sk
6 years ago

QDC deposit!

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