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Friday, May 14, 2021

Live updates: Government announces labor reforms

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Expats

Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has scheduled a mid-afternoon press conference today to announce changes to the country’s much-criticized labor laws.

Any loosening of the country’s sponsorship (kafala) system would be welcome by expats in Qatar, who face difficulty changing jobs and require permission to leave the country.

Today’s announcement will also be closely watched by human rights advocates, who have long argued that the current system leaves migrants – especially domestic workers and low-income laborers – vulnerable to abuse at the hands of unscrupulous employers.

We’ll keep you updated on the latest news from the press conference here, as well as reactions from around Qatar and beyond.


The full story on the proposed changes can be found here.

53 COMMENTS

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Bright Thomas
Bright Thomas
6 years ago

DN – Hope you are prepared for the traffic that is about to hit your site!

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Bright Thomas

Doesn’t appear that we were 🙁 Apologies, all! Working with WPEngine to get things operating smoothly again.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

So, a proposal is what is being announced here?

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Noc still need approval…hmm

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

The council of ministers has accepted a proposal to abolish the No Objection Certificate “in principle.” – Hmmm. There’s that clear and hard hitting statement we were hoping for

Mohamed Akram
Mohamed Akram
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

What do you mean? Should I apply to my employer for NOC?

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

permanent exit? and for temporary you just go?

johnny
johnny
6 years ago

So clear as mud then, how long will these ‘in principle’ statements take to be implemented

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Are you not entertained?

I guess not. Your expectations and the expectations of the state of Qatar are as far apart as ever. You didn’t really expect any far reaching immediate change did you?

Am I entertained? Yes but the sheer inevitability of it all.

Now all go back to work….

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Hmm, too little too late? No, too little & hasn’t happened yet.

johnny
johnny
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

And probably won’t in our lifetime

muttley
muttley
6 years ago

So we can leave and come back straight away to another job? And we can apply for a permanent exit visa. I must be missing the big announcement? What did I miss?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  muttley

Nothing, absolutely nothing. They might as well have said, we have discovered that land cruisers and pick ups are the major cause of accidents in Doha….

Olaw
Olaw
6 years ago

implementation date please

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Olaw

2022 to be abolished in 2023

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

or even 2023 and then cancel the plans in advance, right after the world cup

Lionel_Shaon_
Lionel_Shaon_
6 years ago

Could someone please explain what they meant by “permanent exit visa” ? How is it different from a temporary one ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Lionel_Shaon_

It sounds better and comes on a shiny new piece of paper and takes 6 months

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Lionel_Shaon_

They seem to be implying that if you’re just popping out of the country for a breather, you process the exit through the government (directly I presume, so employer not involved). But to permanently leave, you need to request it from your employer. How they will differentiate, and what’s to stop someone not returning on a permanent exist, is beyond me. Hope I clarified it 😉

KK
KK
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

If they feel that you might not return from holidays, forget you want get it. The idea that they might improve working conditions and that you might be more productive is a concept unknown. Multiple exit visas are granted purely on the country you come from.

Farhan Khurshid
6 years ago

IFs and BUTs.. Am I the only one who couldn’t understand the announcements fully? What is this exit visa thingy?

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

ahahaha they should take a stage and act! They are actors, they really believe all the non-sense they say? Why even thinking in believing in change now?

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

employers mean what here…sponsor or GM or HR…what

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

it should mean the company that employs you

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

so the sponsor…same old story

Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago

So in summary.
1. NOC is now called a permanent exit visa but is in essence the same thing
2. You still have to ask permission from you employer to exit the country.
3. Kafala abolished and now called “contractual relationship ” again in essence the same thing.
4. Possibility of the idea of getting rid of NOC maybe considered some day.

So basically they changed the names of everything but the same rules still apply. And when is this big name change coming? No details… Is this a joke? Big announcement eh?

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

1. Yes
2. Not quite, you ask permission from the government & your employer has 72 hours to object…
3. Yes
4. Yes

Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

2. Isn’t it the same thing? U ask the state if u can go, they ask your employer, he says yes or no. Same system just takes longer!!! Great idea!!??

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

Well, maybe, possibly, if the employer refuses they’ll have to have a valid reason and prove it within a certain timeframe, or else you can go? Or it could be just the same, but longer.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Actually, if you think about it, what might end up happening is that you can still have the option to get the exist permit signed by your employer if you wish to leave, or you could take the government route which would take longer 🙂

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Bursin

you can tell they did not take that trip to Dubai/AbuDhabi to learn how they made it

Chris
Chris
6 years ago

“The current exit permit system will go through the government’s automated system – employer has 72 hours to contest.”

So am I correct in thinking this means we all still need to apply for an exit visa? We just apply to the government now instead of our employer? And I presume if they have 72 hours to contest the permit, then we must apply at least 3 days in advance of wanting to leave….even for a short period of time. I’m pretty sure this is worse!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Presumably you’ll be able to get an immediate exit permit if the employer pushes some button to indicate they don’t need a grace period of 72 hours because you haven’t robbed them

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

That would be nice, but that’s only your own logic added onto their illogical system. The haven’t even alluded to that, so I would highly doubt it!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris

You’re right, sorry, should have known better than to use logic

engrmlc .
engrmlc .
6 years ago

if they abolish the NOC, does it mean that I can return to Qatar anytime without sitting out for 2 years??

Nowe
Nowe
6 years ago

how about the issue of 2 years ban if you resigned or terminated by your employer in order to comeback again in Doha? Is it discuss in the press conference. Thanks

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago

Here is my interpretation – which given that there are seemingly many doesn’t mean that things are that clear but:
1. Temporary Exit Permit – my read is this is the same way as if I leave the UAE – unless there is some sort of block by the government e.g. arrest warrant, court proceeding, I can leave. I just get a stamp in my passport (or walk through the e-gate), much like the UAE. No need to apply, all done at passport control. I have no issue with this. Many countries use it to make sure potential criminals so not abscond.
2. Permanant Exit Permit – you would need to apply for this if you want to get out of things like a housing contract. Yes you could just scarper, but you would lose deposist, and possibly be arrested on return for bounced cheques etc. This still gives the employer control in case of things like contractual disputes. Seems a bit weak though as if you have an issue with an employer and its is that intolerable, a housing deposit would be your last concern. Again I also assume that this means if you get this, you cannot be blocked for two years at the request of your previous employer if you come back.
3. Kafala system abolished – not approved by assume this means you can change your employer at will if staying in Qatar, subject to whatever contract you sign. Does this also mean I won’t need my employers permission to rent a house, open a bank account, wipe my nose etc. Will they still be allowed to freeze my bank account?

AMM
AMM
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

It’s not the employer that freezes your bank account but a bank; employer is obligated to inform your bank when you leave them in case you took loans, credit cards etc

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

1. Note quite. There is a 72 hour period where employers can object to you leaving, which would mean you have to push some button at least 72 hours before you plan to leave (notwithstanding emergency situations or other exceptions which they say will be treated differently, but these will surely require employer’s ok as it was before)
3. You can’t change at will, only after your contract expires (or after 5 years if it’s an open ended contract)

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

It says above that you only need sponsor permission to leave for the Permanant Exit Visa, not the Temporary Exit Visa. The power to grant that is with the governement, which I assume they do at passport control.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

No, they said there will be a 72 hour period where employers can object your leaving. You inform the government that you’re leaving the country, temporarily, they inform the employer, a 72 hour period passes during which the employer can object, then you can leave

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

No 72 hour notice for permanent exit only. As I’ve read it.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Well I hope you’re right. Re-reading all the above and what’s been published elsewhere I must say it’s not very clear, at times the word permanent is used, at times it just says exit permit system will be automated and subject to 72 hours

Nowe
Nowe
6 years ago

how about the 2 years ban if you resigned or terminated by your employer is it change or the same if you want to work again or comeback to Doha>??

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago
Reply to  Nowe

i assume that if the employer does not object to the permanant exit visa in the first place they have no say in what happens afterwards.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

Sounds like the NOC has simply been renamed. I am willing to be employers will be immediately drafting “indefinite” work contracts for existing employees. Still locked in for 5 years of misery if the employer is mistreating employees.

I am not sure why I expected anything more. Shame. =(

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Jason

indefinite contracts already exist and are no harder to draft and than fixed period contract (for now at least), so yes 5 years will be the new lock-in period unless employees are able to request a contract termination on some basis

s2pidlaw
s2pidlaw
6 years ago

5 years for the indefinite contract? Our company right now is very wise. They put us all in indefinite contract… so there’s no change at all… they are still abusing their workers and still a type of slavery… 5 years is too long… 2 years is enough…

Jasmine
Jasmine
6 years ago

I have gone through my employment contract that does not states about my contract period being indefinate or fixed. So how will i know that i need a NOC if i want to change my employer…they have worsen the situation..i wonder what amnesty international or UN Human right have to say about it

KK
KK
6 years ago

Thanks Doha news for covering this topic so well. We do not read this in the official press.

This morning, we could read on the cover page of Gulf Times the ‘award winning’ cover article ‘Not a single injury or death’ on Qatar’s World Cup projects’ the following comment “…It’s not possible to have 400 deaths when you are still digging a hole in the ground”.

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

You’ll like this…Not a lot!…But you’ll like it?!?!?

Bilal
Bilal
6 years ago

Based on this new proposed release, do i need visa to Dubai for a pleasure weekend trip or a short business trip?

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