Applying for switching from one employer to another was quite a stress in Qatar when the Kafala system was in place, however, since its abolishment the process has become easier and pretty straightforward and hassle free.

Ever since the abolishment the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Transport for the purpose of creating awareness among lesser educated workers about the new labour law, has undertaken many initiatives such as the installation of kiosks at many labour camps with a motive to educate the workers about their rights as specified by the new labour law.

One of the most important reforms of the new law is that under the new law, expats are no longer required to seek approval from their existing employers to change jobs if they have already completed the length of a fixed-contract. All they need to do is to provide a written notice to their employer before the contract expires, informing their employer of their intention to change jobs at the end of their contract. The notice period depends on the terms and conditions in the contract signed by each employee.

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Similarly, expats in open-ended contracts will also be able to change jobs without their existing employer’s permission, provided they have completed a five-year service period. Expat workers in open-ended contracts must provide a written notice to their employer prior to changing the job.

Finally, any expat who wishes to change his or her job will need to get an approval from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs (MADSLA) prior to taking up their new employment.

To make matters even more convenient for expat workers, MADSLA recently introduced an e-service where the process of job change can be initiated. The prerequisites for successfully changing the job and how process works are as follows:

• Conditions such as nationality, gender and profession are no longer among requirements for job change approval. Expats were allowed to change jobs only if the new employer had an approval for the position with the same nationality, gender and profession. This clause has now been removed by the Ministry.

• For the job change to be approved there must be no restrictions against the new employer that would stop the change

• Workers looking to change jobs must submit a notice to the existing employer 30 days prior to the end day of the contract, in case of a fixed contract.

• The notice period for open-ended contract is slightly larger

o 30 days, if the contract duration is 5 years

o 60 days, if the contract duration is more than 5 years.

• The expat must attach a signed and scanned copy of the notice form with the job change application.

Expats wishing to avail the service must visit the link named Employer Change / Leave Country, Worker Notice E-Serviceon Ministry’s website. The applicants can use the service by entering their Qatar ID and mobile number, following which a pin number is sent to the mobile number of the expat. Once the expat enters this PIN number on the site, he/she can see all personal information like occupation, age and employers’ information listed on the site.

The Ministry also issued two models for job change only days back. According to a report published by QNA, the first model is to inform the employer about the desire to end the contract and leave the country or change job, but there is a need to identify the type of the contract whether it is fixed duration or open ended contract.

While filling in the form, the applicant needs to choose among the reasons stated in the forms which includes ending contract to leave the country in case of employer’s abuse, to change job by the end of the indefinite contract, end job contract to change employer (if the employer’s abuse confirmed), change employer by the end of the contract duration.

The second model indicated a number of reasons including end of contract to change job with consent of the two parties while the contract is still valid, to end the contract and leave the country before the end of the contract duration, to change employer seeking different type of work such as personal or family works, to end the contract during the probation period and end contract because of disciplinary termination and leave the country.