According to new information revealed by an official at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), “Companies in Qatar can stop their employees can prevent their employees from joining a rival company upon the lapse of their work contract.”

“An employer has the right under the new labour law to include such a clause in the job contract, the clause will play a limiting role, preventing employees from joining a rival company after the lapse of the contract”, the official said.

The clause cannot, however, be added to the job contract without letting the prospective employee know about its presence in the contract and can be enforced only if an employee after knowing about the clause in the contract proceeds to sign it. After signing such a contract employees cannot join a direct competitor of his/her employer after the completion of the job contract, however, indirect competitors do not come under the purview of this clause.

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“If this clause is not a part of the job contact signed by an employee, then the employer cannot stop former staff member from joining a rival company,” the official added

Expat workers who wish to change their jobs following the completion of their work contracts will be afforded a grace period of 3 months for finding a new job and completing all the necessary formalities to complete the process.

Many visa restrictions have also been done away with, which means expats who were originally hired for a particular project will now be able to take up new jobs following the completion of the original projects, the official revealed. Before the visa restrictions were lifted, such workers had no option other than leaving the country following the completion of the projects they were hired for.

Furthermore, expat workers will not be allowed to enter the country for work without a valid job contract. The contracts, which will be codified in as many as 10 languages, will be signed in the source countries from now onwards. The Ministry is looking to hire a Swiss company to set an online platform for the facilitation of contract signing between employees and employers. Once the contract is signed and validated, only then will a worker be allowed to enter Qatar.