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Qatar New residency law to take effect in Dec

A two-month awareness campaign to familiarise companies and workers with the new law (No. 21 of 2015) regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates will begin this week, ahead of the law’s implementation in December.

The campaign is being launched by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior.

Issued on October 27 last year the law has replaced the Kafala (sponsorship) system with a contract-based system and cancelled the exit permit system.  The law is expected to be enforced by mid-December, one year after it was published in the official gazette.

Commenting on the campaign, the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi said, “The significant changes to Qatar’s labour laws in December will require employers, embassies, the Qatar Chamber and other official entities to understand how to comply with the new legal framework around Qatar’s labour laws.

Workers will also need to be aware of their rights and obligations under the new law.” 

The awareness drive will start with a series of workshops involving key segments including members of the Qatar Chamber, representatives of embassies and community organisations, and managers and representatives of private companies and institutions. 

“Organisation of these workshops represents another concrete commitment towards reforming Qatar’s labour system. By engaging with these key stakeholders, our aim is to increase transparency. These workshops are vital for raising awareness among employers about Qatar’s labour laws, and ensuring there are mechanisms in place for safeguarding employees rights,” said the Minister.

Job contract to define relations between company and employees

Under the new law, the job contract to be signed by every expatriate worker with his employer will rule the relation between the two sides. 

An exit permit from the sponsor will no more be required for an expatriate worker to leave the country. However, he will need a permission from the departments concerned at the Ministry of Interior.

The law has removed the two-year period required for an expatriate worker to return to the country to take up a new job, after his departure. 

The law also allows expatriate workers to change jobs subject to conditions. 

The new law has raised the fine on employees for keeping the passports of expatriate employees from QR10,000 to QR25,000 for each passport.

Hailing the ministry initiative, Ahmed Al Khalaf, a prominent Qatari businessman said that the new law will help create a balance in the job market and ensure mobility of workforce. 

“The contract system that will replace the Kafala one is the most common system in many parts of the world. It represents a good progress in the work environment in Qatar because it will create a balanced relation between the employer and employees. It is also going to relieve companies from keeping big number of workers under their sponsorship. It will eventually benefit the Qatari job market.”

He said, with the new law, companies can allow their extra workers to move to other companies and save the money and efforts in sending them home on their expense. 

“The law will also help eliminate run away and illegal workers,” said Al Khalaf.

He, however, noted that transferring workers from one company to another may create conflict of interest in some cases, especially when senior employees like directors and managers are involved and this aspect should be taken into account.

Author: Mohammed Iqbal    Source: thepeninsulaqatar

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