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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Qatar mulls granting no objection certificates to in-demand workers

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Construction

In a move that could have wide-reaching implications for Qatar, the government is considering allowing employees who have finished their contracts here and wish to seek additional work remain in the country.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) announced its intentions in a series of tweets yesterday, saying that the strategy could help tackle the illegal recruitment fees many low-income expats pay when moving here.

https://twitter.com/MOLSAQatar/status/451666259269009408

https://twitter.com/MOLSAQatar/status/451666454136774656

https://twitter.com/MOLSAQatar/status/451667069780512768

The initiative, which appears to be aimed at low-skilled and semi-skilled workers, would also no doubt help Qatar alleviate some of the pressure of constantly recruiting expats for the countless infrastructure projects that must be completed ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Under the current sponsorship (kafala) system, expats are not permitted to move to other jobs without the permission of their current employer. If that company refuses to grant a no objection certificate – even if the employee’s contract is finished – that expat must exit the country, and cannot legally work in Qatar for another two years.

But a “worker’s rotation scheme” could dramatically alter that system, which Qatar has retained amid fierce criticism, in part because it gives the country more control about its demographic balance.

Quoting an unnamed MOLSA official, Al Raya reports that the scheme could also reduce inefficiencies in how workers are currently being recruited. The Peninsula translates:

“The proposal aims to redistribute and redeploy groups of workers to capitalize on their expertise and save time, money and resources involved in recruitment of new workers for new projects.

Quoting the source, the daily said this is a very significant project ‘which will safeguard the rights of workers, meet their needs and help the country benefit from their experience in working in development projects.'”

Al Raya added that the proposal is expected to be implemented “soon.”

Changes afoot

The development comes amid reports that major changes are coming to Qatar’s kafala system, according to European Parliament members who met with senior government officials here last month.

Foreign Minister Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah was also quoted last week by QNA as saying:

“Everyone will be astonished for the steps taken by Qatar and what it will be doing to correct mistakes, if there are any.”

Concurrently, as competition for manpower in the region grows more fierce, government officials have said they plan to postpone some projects before the World Cup, to prioritize other initiatives such as the construction of the stadiums and public transportation system.

According to Al Raya, MOLSA is currently discussing this policy with companies and workers for their feedback.

Thoughts?

29 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

It won’t work. Employers will just give workers indefinite contracts with a notice period of say one month. Not enough time to find another job and they will be sent home.

A better solution would be a NOC once the employee has completed a minimum of 2 or 3 years. This is fair for both employer and employee as both get a good return from the relationship.

Rapha31
Rapha31
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

One up vote.

Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Agreed. A dear friend of mine from Ghana had his contract renewed without his knowledge or consent. He thought he had only 2 months left, then was surprised to learn his company had renewed him for another 2 years. In situations like this, employees would never reach the end of their contracts.

I have another friend working on the new airport. High-up expat from the UK. His company signed him to a five year contract. Once he and his whole family were moved and settled in Doha, his company informed him then wanted him for 6 years. He said “no” so they informed him his 5 year contract would now commence in one year’s time. Of course after changing jobs and moving to Doha they just stayed, thus his company got him for the 6 years they wanted.

All work contracts are as good as toilet paper in this country

Humanbeing
Humanbeing
7 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Miller

“All work contracts are as good as toilet paper in this country ”

Rightly said

daveb
daveb
7 years ago

One option would be an automatic NOC unless the employee makes a case to reject (lack of adherence to health and safety etc) that would allow a 3 month “work seekers” visa – the worker would be entitled to a ticket home should they be unable to find a job with a minimum contract of 1 year at the end of that time – if they are successful then the obligation for the ticket home and RP transfers to the new employer

But this could help bring some stability to the workers and help encourage them to develop skills and experience

zia
zia
7 years ago

Well Come Qatar to change NOC Law, I have good offer from Q Company since 1.5 years but my current sponsor didn’t provide me NOC yet, I’m going to be completed 04 years 0n 7-April-2014. my original contract for 2 years already finished and after this I request for NOC but my current sponsor didn’t provide NOC and didn’t renew my salary. I’m getting same salary. I’ve no increment in four years and no family status. I’m living here with family and I’ve more than 300% package offer from Q Company. I’ve three kids and going to school. Please Qatar change NOC law as soon as possible.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  zia

I’m sure they are listening to you as Qatar’s aim is to make you richer

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  zia

Based on your English language skills, I hope you are being offered 300% of your current package for a technical job.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
7 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

No need for that. I suggest Mr. Babu, that you take a look through your former postings first and make the necessary corrections, before commenting on others.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

I never said I’m being offered 300% of my current package from a Q company. I am being paid according to my qualifications and skills. I am not a native English speaker, nor am I claiming to be have perfect English language skills. Nevertheless, would you be so kind as to point out as to where I need to make the corrections?

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
7 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

Please read my reply once again. You made a snide comment about the poster and his English. It might have been more supportive to comment on the actual point made by the guest commentor, rather than demeaning his effort. The man obviously has serious issues. Nothing to do with you, or your qualifications, skills or pay either. Better post no reply than one like that. Your choice at the end of the day.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Fair point – my comment was derogatory. I just think that this guy is exaggerating. He accepted his current post 4 years back as he felt it was a fair paying job. Now, 4 years later he thinks he deserves 200% more? Furthermore, one part he says he has no family status and yet he is living here with his family. I don’t think his problems are as serious as he makes it out to be. That’s just my point of view. Let’s agree to disagree on this.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

“Everyone will be astonished for the steps taken by Qatar and what it will be doing to correct mistakes, if there are any.” I wonder; is he saying everyone will be astonished because what will be done will be so amazing, or it’s because everyone has such low expectations. I know which category most of the people here fall into 😉

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Well, I thought the part of the quote “…correct mistakes, if there are any” speaks volumes. All they have to say is that there are no mistakes, so nothing will be changed.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

lol I wanted to comment on that part, but I wasn’t sure what to say, really! I mean, at this point, after all the many articles and reports by international teams, you should know what the problem is, right? Saying that you’ll “correct mistakes, if there are any” makes it sound as if only now have the government took notice of these matters.

DannyE
DannyE
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Perhaps you’re just overanalyzing this. Dr. Al Atiyah is a lawyer, and this is clearly lawyerspeak. He didn’t want to implicitly admit the guilt before official government report is out. Also, in current media climate against Qatar, had he just say “correct mistakes”, it would’ve been reported worldwide “Qatari Minister says that mistakes had been made” or worse

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  DannyE

You know what, you’re probably right. I also tend to be naive and assume that if I admit that I did something wrong, people will not take advantage of that 😉

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Astonishment would be abolishment of the exit permit and work visas being issued by the government not tied to an individual sponsor. The current system means the government can blame individuals the other way they would be 100% responsible for human rights matters

Laibach
Laibach
7 years ago

Some say that unscrupulous employers routinely issue NOC’s in exchange for not paying last 2-3 months of salary and end-of-service-benefits.

KK
KK
7 years ago

This “mulling” process has been going on for quite some years now.

AEC
AEC
7 years ago

Obvious advantage for the employee but enormous potential advantages to the employer and the economy as a whole. Suddenly you may be able to get the best person for the job rather than someone who is stuck in a job they care nothing for. Maybe a few things will finally get sorted!

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Don’t hold your breath

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago

“MOLSA working on #workersrotationscheme which aims to make it easier for workers to transfer employer at the end of their contract”

So now it goes from impossible to realistically impossible?

M333
M333
7 years ago

The system is broken and needs a radical overhaul not tinkered with at the edges. Sensible employment regulations combined with the free movement of labour would establish Qatar as a leader in the region and address all the current local and international criticisms. Qatar, with its new fresh dynamic leadership has a unique opportunity to address this grossly unfair and redundant system – it has nothing to fear except fear itself.

observer
observer
7 years ago

Excerpt from the Peninsula says:

“For instance, if there are 500 workers deployed in a government project,
they can be transferred to another project immediately after completion
of the first project.

However, this has to be done with approval from the company that brought
them to Qatar, after making sure the workers desire to be shifted to
the new project and their original employer does not need them for other
projects.”

Government Projects only? Sponsors approval (NOC) needed?
No change there if this is true!

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
7 years ago
Reply to  observer

Absolutely no change there. I believe that already goes on.

This just makes it legal to trade your employees. Will they get a realistic say in the matter? If the workers prefer to go home will they be heard?
A seemingly good idea in principle in terms of retaining job knowledge but wide open for continued abuse.

Humanbeing
Humanbeing
7 years ago

It seems another useless attempt . Qatar thinks like any other Qatari .They don’t want to accept the real problem instead of trying to divert attention to something else .

Firstly NOC is there already there but many companies are hesitated to provide . For an example one of the company terminated one of employee after 1 year with out any reason , and they told him they will provide NOC .This guy waited and waited untill the last day of his travel . And just before he supposed to leave they told him they will not provide any NOC .

Secondly when many employees want to leave , when they submit cancel papers (must be submitted 3 months prior to traveling date as per company rule , Qatar labor rule are useless ) at the last day company will renew their id without taking permission from Employee .

Remove NOC after contract period and make it easy to join another company without any slave master paper works .

Humanbeing
Humanbeing
7 years ago

These so called officials , and law making people have to think about working under these harsh conditions for sometime , Then they will change all the rules within seconds . There is no good future for employee , no dreams for employee only for their feudal sponsor . Its like you are stuck in 7-14th century where slavery was normal & celebrated in the name of religion .I know 15-20 years very experienced highly skilled workers still earning 1000-2000 riyals in Qatar .

Sally
Sally
7 years ago

If workers were treated more humanly they wouldn’t want to leave – simple solution!

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