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Saturday, October 16, 2021

New panel to be set up to hear Qatar expats’ exit permit grievances

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

Moving forward on plans to roll out an updated kafala law by year-end, Qatar’s Cabinet has approved the formation of a panel to oversee exit permit grievances from those having trouble leaving the country.

According to QNA, a representative from the Ministry of Interior will serve on the committee, as well as two representatives from “relevant authorities.”

The newly formed panel is part of Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates, which was approved by the Emir last year and is expected to come into force on Dec. 14.

The main reforms of the legislation are that:

  • There will be a new system to appeal refused exit permits; and
  • Expats who finish fixed contracts will no longer need their sponsor’s approval to take up another job.

Though authorities have said the new law does away with the exit permit system, the text of the law suggests otherwise.

Once the new law takes effect, an expat who wishes to leave the country must inform the MOI (not their employer) at least three business days before his/her exit.

The MOI would then wait for the sponsor’s approval or objection before permitting the exit, the law states:

“Other than this (any objections), the employee can leave the country once their employer informs the ministry of their approval that they can go on holiday.”

If the sponsor objects, an expat could appeal to the new panel approved by the Cabinet.

Here’s our unofficial English translation of the new law.

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