The Qatar new labor law is expected to be enforced by mid-December (13/12/2016), one year after it was published in the official gazette.

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.

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An exit permit from the sponsor will no more be required for an expatriate worker to leave the country.

Expat who finish contracts will need a permission from the departments concerned at the Ministry of Interior.

If expat decided to resign before finishing contract, he/she need to give the clarification about his/her resignation to Ministry of Interior. After an approval from Qatar Ministry worker can leave the country.

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.

How can expatriates apply for an exit permit under the new rules?

To apply for an exit permit, for annual leave or an emergency, the workers would first need to submit their application in writing to their employer, as per the terms of their contract.

Exit permit requests will be approved and processed by employers immediately in a majority of cases. If at all the employer rejects the request, expats will be able to apply directly to the Exit Permit Grievances Committee.

Expats are able to submit requests via an e-government services programme, or in-person at government service complexes and police stations throughout Qatar. Once submitted, all exit permit requests received will be decided upon within 72 hours, reports The Peninsula.

The Exit Permit Grievances Committee will then conduct an immediate background check of the applicant to ensure that no active or pending criminal proceedings, or financial claims, are currently against him.

The committee would hold a interrogatory session with the applicant’s employer and ask if he/she have any objections to the request.

Here, valid objections may include reasons like the the employee has committed a fraud or the is attempting to evade prosecution for a crime.

It is then the employer’s task to convince the relevant authorities before the 72-hour working  period of the Committee closes, that a criminal case should be opened up against the worker. Failing to do so will automatically grant the worker an Exit Permit.

What will happen if the Exit Permit Grievances Committee is unable to contact the expatriate’s employer?

In case the Committee cannot contact an expatriate’s employer within 72 hours of their submission of exit permit application, the permit would be approved, provided that the worker passes all relevant background checks.

What will happen where there is an emergency and an expatriate needs to return sooner?

Usually, the current maximum for the appeals to be approved is 72 hours. However, in reality the system can operate much faster. During emergency of any sort, the committee can expedite this timing.

Who are the Members of the Exit Permit Grievances Committee, and how does it operate?

The members forming the The Exit Permit Grievances Committee consist of officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, and representatives of the National Human Rights Committee.

The worker will have the opportunity to contest any evidence that may have been used against them during hearings. They will also have the opportunity to appeal for clemency, in cases where they owe debt but need to return home for a medical or family emergency.

In cases where an expatriate is prevented from receiving an exit permit, will their family members be able to leave the country?

There is no barrier for family members and dependents to leave the country, unless they are a part of any crime committed by the expatriate under investigation.