Emir okays changes to sponsorship law

The Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani on Tuesday issued Law No. 21 of 2015 on the regulation of entry, exit and residency of expatriates.

The changes to the kafala sponsorship system under the amended law will make it easier for expats to switch jobs and exit the country. The law will come into force one year after its publication in the official gazette.

According to the changes, expats can change jobs after completion of the fixed-term employment contracts. In case of open contracts where the contract period is not specified, expats can switch jobs after five years with the approval from the competent authority in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA). As of now, one had to wait for two years to work in Qatar again if an employer refuses to grant a no-objection certificate to change jobs.

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Expats who wish to leave the country will have to seek the permission of the authority 72 hours in advance.

Regarding exit permit, the new law allows the expat worker to apply for an exit permit to committee to be set up by the minister if the employer denies him one.

On job transfer, the employer, the competent authority and MoLSA may agree to allow the transfer of an expat worker to another employer before the expiration of the employment contract. The expat worker may be transferred to another employer in case of death of the sponsor or the expiration of the legal person for any reason.