As part of an ongoing campaign by the government to raise awareness of the country’s new law for the entry, exit, and residency of expats, Qatar has been hosting a series of workshops.
Under the provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs (MADLSA) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) have conducted regular seminars, aimed at educating the business owners and expats of their rights and obligations, reports Gulf Times.
Pogrammes and workshops were held as part of the awareness campaigns, wherein, various businessmen from Qatar Chamber, representatives of labour affairs from various embassies in Qatar, heads of labour communities, and representatives of private companies and workers participated.
An official from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs, highlighted that the new law includes several new protections for workers during all stages of the migration cycle – from recruitment to repatriation.
He added that all expatriates will benefit from the changes, including domestic, blue-collar and white-collar workers.
As such, the new law will offer substantial new freedoms and protections for more than 2.1mn foreign workers in the country.
New options for workers to change jobs and apply for exit permits, as well as new regulations to prevent the exploitation of low-income workers would be made available to the workers as part of the new law.
The Kafala system would also be abolished through the new law and a modernised, contract-based system would come into effect.
Moreover, prospective migrant workers will be able to see a copy of their job contract, prior to leaving their country of origin, as obtaining a work visa will now require the existence of a job contract approved by the Ministry, as reported by the Gulf Times.
The law also puts forward that if any employers are found to have confiscated passports, they can be fined up to QR25,000 per worker.
It may be mentioned that that His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani announced reforms in the entry, exit and residence of workers in October 2015, which will come into effect on December 13, 2016.
One of the highlights of the new law is the setting up of the Exit Permit Grievances Committee that will consist of officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs, and representatives of the National Human Rights Committee.
A worker can appeal to the Exit Permit Grievances Committee in case an employer refuses an employee the permission to leave the country. The committee will give him the opportunity to contest any evidence that may have been used against him. The worker 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.