Hundreds of people flocked to a labor ministry office in Qatar this week after hearing rumors that they only had 10 days to change employers under a newly implemented law.
According to sources who sent video and photos of the crowds to Doha News, people lined up as early as 5am on Wednesday morning outside of the building on C-Ring Road.
However, officials explained to those who were waiting that the rumor was incorrect, and outlined the actual procedure for changing jobs.
تود الوزارة التوضيح حول ما تم تداوله عبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي بأن هناك مهلة محددة ب ١٠ أيام للعامل لتغيير صاحب العمل غير صحيح ..يتبع
— وزارة التنمية والعمل (@ADLSAQa) December 29, 2016
And on Twitter yesterday, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs clarified that no such grace period exists. This is despite the information going viral on social media channels.
Under the new Law No. 21 of 2015, which governs the employment and residence of expats in Qatar, it is now easier for some people to switch jobs.
However, the no objection certificate has not been abolished.
Instead, only workers on fixed-term contracts can now change jobs after their contract is completed without an NOC. Notably, employees must give their employers 30 days’ notice if they intend to switch jobs.
Meanwhile, those on open-ended contracts must work for five years before being able to do so. And notice must be given from 30–60 days by the employee in this case.
Additionally, all foreigners need labor ministry approval before taking up new employment.
This can be obtained by applying through the ministry’s website or visiting its main office in Dafna.
Other requirements to change jobs include a provision that expats can only work for companies that have an approved visa to hire them.
This is because authorities in Qatar are very specific when granting work visas to companies based on profession, nationality and gender.
So for example, a Nepali blue-collar worker would only be able to switch jobs if his new company had an available work visa for a male Nepali laborer.
Additionally, the ministry said that expats over the age of 60 years old would not be able to switch employers.