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All you need to know about Qatar’s New Sponsorship

A new law is going to come into effect governing emigrants in within the next two weeks. According to a statement issues by the government, new protections will be given to foreigners working in Qatar. But for others the business will run in the usual manner when this law will come into effect on December 13.

The law will include permission by the employers if foreigners wish to travel abroad for holidays. This system is being set up in order to initiate an automated exit permit system through Ministry of Interior. The big changes to the existing law placed forward by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs are as follows.

Who is covered?

According to the changes made, the entry, exit, and residency of all non-GCC nationals such as domestic staff will be covered under this law. Nationals from other Gulf countries, Qataris as well as the workers of Qatar Financial Center will not be accounted under this law. The employees of Qatar Financial Centre are exempted because they have their own laws for employment and immigration.

What is the procedure for new hires?

Substitute contracts are an issue that Qatar has been dealing for long. This happens when foreigners move into the country in hope of finding a perfect job with good salary but upon entering, they are forced to take on the lesser paid jobs. The new law requires anyone entering the country to show a copy of his/her work contract in his/her homeland. Moreover, work visas will be issued only with government’s approval.

How will the laws effect existing contracts?

Once the new law comes into effect, the expats will not be required to sign an entire new contract. Length of the service will not be calculated from December 13 instead it will be considered from an employee’s date of starting work.

How to switch jobs?

Once the contract gets complete, expats working on fixed-term contracts can switch to other jobs without the approval of the employer. Those working with open-ended contracts can change jobs after a period of five years. The employed will however be required to apply to the labor ministry for changing jobs. Also, before the contract ends an employee will have to submit a written notice regarding changing of job. The workers interested in changing jobs before their contract expires will be required to get permission of the employer.

How a person will be allowed for leaving Qatar?

The expats should apply directly to the government if they want to leave the country. The recently changed law states that employer of a person must be informed in the form of a written statement before leaving.

What is the employer denies permission?

Appeal for a new Exit Permit Grievance Committee can be made by the employee if the employer denies the exit permission. This facility is available online but it can also be done at government services center or at any police station. The committee is bound by law to respond within 72 hours once the complaint is lodged but the results can be attained quickly in case of emergency situations.

How committee works?

Officials of the Ministry of Interior, MADSLA, and representatives of the National Human Rights Committee are included in the panel of the committee. After a complaint is lodged, the worker’s employer is contacted by the committee. The employer is required to justify why he denied the exit permission. Reasons for denying include any crime committed by the worker or if he/she wants to dodge prosecution. Background checks will be carried out by the committee and if it remains unable to contact the employer, it will issue the exit permit itself.

According to labor ministry, workers will be denied exits permits only on two conditions. If the worker in involved in any active criminal proceedings or if he/she is defaulted in debts in Qatar.

What if it’s an emergency?

If any worker wants to leave the country quickly, then the committee can speed up the timing for granting the approval.

What about family members?

The emigrant’s family members will be allowed to leave the country even if they have been denied exit permission before.

What if a person wants to come back to Qatar?

Expats who have left the country and have even cancelled their RPs can return to the country without waiting two years for permission. However workers guilty of any misconduct during their previous job in Qatar will not be allowed to enter the country.

What will happen if a person loses job in Qatar?

While in Qatar, employees with cancelled contracts will be given three months to secure a job but if they fail to find job in this period, they will be forced out of the country.

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Written by Hisham Sarwar

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