Employers can put up to five percent of the employees in a list for whom “no objection certificate” will still be mandatory.
Qatar has enforced the exit visa reform which allows migrant workers to leave the country without obtaining permission from their employers. Qatar’s Ministry of Interior announced the implementation of this reform on Oct.28.
The ministry announced this on Twitter, where it said that certain provisions of Law No.21 of 2015 are amended by Law No.13 of 2018. These amendments are related to entry, exit, and residency of the expat workers in the country, and are being implemented from Oct.28, 2018.
The ministry said, “As per the amendment, the expatriate workers that come under the Labor Law can leave the country without obtaining a prior permit, while the employer can restrict up to 5% of his workforce to obtain a prior consent because of the nature of their work.”
While the amendment allows migrant workers to leave the oil-rich Kingdom without taking any permission from their employers, it also gives companies the right to keep up to five percent of their employees in the list for whom permission or no objection certificate is still needed for leaving the country. For these employees, the employers will have to give a justification based on the nature of their work.
The ministry said that “the employers can upload such list of employees who require prior consent to exit the country, through the website of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA).”
It also said, “The expatriate workers, who are unable to leave the country for any reason, can approach the Expatriate Exit Grievance Committee, which will look into the complaint and take a decision within three working days.”
Welcoming this move, Houtan Homayounpour, Head of ILO project Office for the State of Qatar, International Labor Organization (ILO), Doha, said in a video message on Twitter, “As of October 28, most workers covered by the labor code in Qatar will no longer require an exit permit. This will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of migrant workers in Qatar.”
Qatar had announced the Labor Law reform in September this year. After meeting Qatar’s Prime Minister and Labor Minister, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) had said on Oct.8 that Qatar’s reformed exit visa system will be implemented by the end of October.
This relaxation in exit policy will benefit thousands of migrant workers from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh who work in the country.
Qatar has been constantly facing criticism by human right groups for its stringent labor laws. As the country is hosting the Soccer World Cup in 2022, this labor reform is being seen as an attempt to remove negativity associated with its name. It was also announced in April this year that the country will increase the minimum wages by the end of 2018.