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What is a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in Qatar?
Is your current job not making you happy anymore? Are you thinking about changing your career, but you have no idea where you could even start looking, or what else you could be doing? If that’s the case – you came to the right place!
We will explain how expatriate can now change their jobs in Qatar, make big career moves, and all that without the NOC in Qatar from their current employer, so keep on reading!
Great news for our expatriate readers!
The State of Qatar now made it possible for workers to change jobs without having to obtain NOC in Qatar from their employers during their contract period, no matter the kind of contract they are on. To understand this reform better, let’s dive into Qatar’s past labor reforms.
Rules & Regulations Regarding Changing Jobs in Qatar Without NOC
Qatar is a fast-growing country with rapid development in its infrastructure and economy. Thousands of expatriates seek to improve their own and their family’s lives through different jobs in Qatar. Qatar hires over two million people (about 85% of its labor force) and the government attempts to prioritize the welfare of the guest workers. According to a 2004 labor law, all the people in Qatar are permitted to change their jobs without obtaining a No Objection Certificate or NOC.
History and Current Rules of Qatar Labor Reforms
Qatar Labor Law and Reforms are designed for the benefit of both employer and employee. Several issues in the labor law are not something that can necessarily be solved immediately. However, Qatar has reformed its labor law and its procedures over many years, increasing the number of migrant workers and strengthening its labor laws.
Just like other large growing countries, to create a modern and dynamic labor market, the state of Qatar is enhancing its laws and reforms. These changes in laws will create a new milestone in the coming days. It will be highly beneficial for the employers, employees, and the business market as well.
Among some of the critical abolished reforms, the unjustified ‘Kafala System’ means the requirement of ‘No Objection Certificate’ where the workers need to have a NOC from their employers before changing to another job. Some of the new introductions to the labor law are:
- Workers can change their employment according to their choice. They are free to do so, and there is no requirement for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their prior employer.
- The majority of workers do not need any exit permission to leave the country.
- They have introduced the non-discriminatory minimum wage.
- They plan to establish twenty Qatar Visa Centres in different countries to ensure no exploitation of their home countries’ workers.
- The Worker’s Support and Fund have been established to ensure the rights and provide a healthy and safe working environment.
Qatar NOC Rules 2020
A No Objection Certificate is a clear note from the employer that if the employee wants to change jobs, the employer does not have any objection. It frees the employee from any obligation towards the previous employer and allows them to find a new job in a new company.
According to the new NOC rules of the Qatar Government in September 2020, as published in the Official Gazette, the workers do not require a ‘No Objection Certificate’ if they want to terminate their work contracts under certain circumstances.
Qatar National Vision 2030 is to protect the rights and safety of workers. Therefore, it is a welcome decision that will encourage the employees, employers, and investors and open the doors for new ventures. Some of the main points of the law for the employees are:
- Employees can provide one month’s notice to the contractor to terminate their contract if they are working for two years or less. If they are working for more than two months, then a two-month notice should be served.
- Employees can strengthen the local and international business and economy by pursuing new opportunities in the state of Qatar.
- The probationary period for the employees with the agreement to the employer should not be more than six months from their first working date.
Removal of exit permission
The Interior Minister decision No. 95 of 2019 was issued on 16th January 2020. Accordingly, the exit permits have been removed from all the expatriates who are not subject to the labor Law of Qatar under immediate effect.
The new law allows most of the migrant workers as well as domestic workers to leave the country without first going to acquire permission from the employer. However, there is an exception for the military personnel. Domestic workers must inform the employer 72 hours before the departure to ensure their rights and the employers.
According to the rule, the employer has the right to submit names of the employees who are willing to leave and prior reasoned requests to the Ministry of Interior. However, it should not exceed 5% of the employees.
Current Procedures to Change Jobs and Employers in Qatar
Currently, employees do not require any No Objection Certificates to terminate their contracts. The Ministry of Administrative Department, Labor and Social Affairs (ADLSA) has listed down the rules and regulations for the employee without having first to obtain the No Objection Certificate or NOC.
Step1: Notify the Current Employer
The worker should always inform the current employer about their plan to transfer to a new company. In addition, they should notify via the electronic system of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA).
- The worker should give one month’s notice if they have been working for less than two years with the current employer.
- The worker should give two months’ notice if they have been working for more than two years with the current employer.
- If the worker intends to change job during the probation period, then they have to give a notice one month before
- There should be communication between a worker’s current and new employer regarding the compensation of the recruitment fees and the one-way ticket. However, it should not exceed the employee’s two months’ basic wage.
Step 2: Express the Intention For Changing Job
The worker should prepare the documents required to apply to change the current job. They should prepare everything through the electronic notification system of ADLSA. The process of submitting the form:
- Download, fill in and sign the ADLSA change-of-the-employer form.
- The worker should provide a copy of the contract signed with the former employer authenticated by the MADLSA or the employer’s offer if the contract copy is not available.
- There should be a copy of the employment contract available. However, there should also be the new employer’s job offer in the Arabic language.
- Attachment of the resignation copy
- For the specialized professionals, attachment of the license of the practice from the concerned authorities of the country and a certified copy of the educational certification is required.
- If the employee is over sixty years, then he/she should attach a health insurance certification copy with all the documents.
Step 3: Wait Until the Receipt of Confirmation
The employee should wait until he gets the confirmation from ADLSA. The process of the proof of receipt is:
- The department of the Ministry should process the employee’s application, and he/she will get a confirmation within a week of the date of submission of the application.
- The worker and the new employer will receive an SMS from ADLSA confirming the change of employment.
Step 4: Employer Should Initiate the Electronic Employment Contract (EEC)
The following process is that the employer initiates an Electronic Employment Contract through the ADLSA’s Digital Authentication System. Then, the employee should complete his/her employment contract certification. Finally, the employer must upload the signed employment contract to the electronic services of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) through its website to complete the procedure of changing employer status.
Step 5: Sign the New Employment Contract
The contract process will take some time to initiate:
- The new employer should download and print out the contract, discuss thoroughly and strengthen it, and increasingly sign it with the employee.
- The new employer should upload the signed document of the employment contract on ADLSA’s Digital Authentication System.
- The employer should pay the authentication fee of QAR60 for this process.
- The employee should wait for the new employer to upload the signed contract.
- When the new employment contract is authenticated and the process is completed, the new employer should request the Ministry of Interior for a new Qatar ID.
Step 6: Start the New Job
When the process mentioned above is completed, the employee should be able to start a fresh job.
- The worker should receive his/her new Qatar ID (QID) and the health care card from the new employer.
- Through the help of the Digital Authentication System, both the employer and the employee should be able to download a copy of the employment contract as needed.
Other Clauses of Changing Jobs
Apart from the points mentioned earlier, there are some other causes for changing jobs for the workers.
- The new employer should agree and approve to hire the same profession, nationality, and gender. Likewise, if a worker wants to leave the current employer and join another firm, the new firm should approve the employee with the same ethnicity, profession, and gender.
- There should be no restrictions or reservations against the new employer that can stop the change.
- There is also a restriction of the employee’s age to be below 60 years in some cases.
How Long Does It Take To Complete The Process?
The whole process and the final segment of approval may take a minimum of ten days. Therefore, the employee should submit the complete information with all required documents.
The Process of Termination or Resignation from Jobs in Qatar
The employee must download the ‘Leave Country Form’ to fill up the application. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs will process that application. They will send the confirmation through text message within a week of the submission of the application. They will also confirm the required notice period.
Benefits for the Employees at the End of Their Service
The worker support and insurance fund protect the workers from the impact of unpaid or overdue wages if the employer no longer continues his business.
The worker must complete a full year of employment without committing any violation as described in Article 61 of the Labor Law.
Furthermore, if the termination is authentic, the employer must pay the worker his or her end-of-service benefits or any other remaining annual leaves stipulated by labor law number 14 of 2004.
Suppose the employer misses seeing the notice period and terminates the contract. In that case, the worker must be paid compensation equal to the basic wage for the notice period or the remaining time of the notice period.
Complaints Against The Employer
If the employer does not pay the remaining wages to the employee, the worker can change the job without giving any notice to the employer.
However, as per Amended Article 51 of the Labor Law, the worker should submit a complaint against the employer with the labor Relations department ADLSA.
The worker will not be under any obligation to observe a notice period to change jobs if the employer has failed to fulfill any legal obligation.
Rules Regarding Period of the Job Change without NOC in Qatar
If the worker has completed the contract period, they can leave with the new job contract and visa. However, if workers want to leave the country without a job contract, they must cancel the residence permit and leave within a week.
If the employer terminates the job, then the MADLSA may allow the workers three months to find a new position in such exceptional cases. However, if the worker finds a new job, they have to go through the entire process of changing to a new job. If it does not happen within the time frame, then the worker has to leave Qatar.
If the Worker Does Not Value the Notice Period
Suppose there is any situation when the worker terminates the contract without observing the probable notice period. In that case, he/she has to pay the employer compensation equivalent to their basic wage.
The compensation is calculated according to the basic wage for the enduring part of the notice period. Along with compensation, the employer can also terminate the contract legally.
No misconduct will be entertained regarding the false document submission or producing false identity or nationality, committing any act that brings a gross financial loss for the employer, or disclosing any confidential information of the organization.
If the worker leaves Qatar without informing or completing the notice period, the worker will not be able to return to work in Qatar for the next one year.
If there is any other non-compete clause in the employment contract, then the employee will not be able to change jobs in the same productive sector for a year after leaving the job.
FAQ on Changing Your Job with NOC in Qatar
Is it possible to leave Qatar and return to start a new or different job than before?
This is not possible. If leaving Qatar and not providing any notification or if you don’t complete your notice period then you may not return to Qatar for work for at least one year.
Can you change jobs in Qatar without the NOC?
Yes, it possible due to the new law and workers and employees may be able to change their jobs at anytime during their contract period with their employer.
If I am already working with my employer do I need to sing a new contract because of the new law?
No, it is not necessary to sign a new contract if you are an existing employee.
How much notice is required before you changing your job and transferring to a new employer?
You will need to give one months’ notice if you have worked with the employer for 2 years or less. If more than 2 years working with that employer then 2 months notice will be required.
Is it legal for my employer to hold my passport and not return it?
No, it is not legal and employers who have been found guilty of doing so without the consent of the employee can face fines of up to 25,000 QAR per individual worker. It s a violation of Qatar law to keep the passport of employees and the passport belongs to the issuing Government and ony the holder of the passport is entitle to hol
Who can I contact for more information about changing jobs in Qatar?
Important Notes About Job Changing Process in Qatar without NOC
- Under the new labor law, the service period is calculated from the first day the employee works.
- The existing employees are not required to sign new contracts.
- The service period includes all days of employment.
- Acquiring a work visa will now require a job contract approval by MADSLA. That is why all prospective migrating workers will be able to see a copy of their job contract before leaving their country of origin.
- The workers who have been found guilty of misconduct while working with their previous employer will not be allowed such benefits. Such workers might face a ban of work for four years.
- If the expatriate has their employment and residency terminated, they will have the permission to return to Qatar for new jobs after being granted a new visa.
- There is the harshest penalty for the employers if found to confiscate the passports for the employees. The fine can be up to QR 25000 per worker.
- The process of a job change or filling up the form in Qatar can be confusing for some workers. Therefore, they should take professional help to proceed with this total procedure.
From January 2020, many new laws and reforms came into action in the Qatar Administration.
The Interior Minister’s Decision No. 95 of 2019, issued regarding exit permits, was removed for all expatriates not related to the Qatar Labor Law.
In August 2020, the Non- Discriminatory wages and the removal of Non-Objection Certificates were announced when transferring employment. The ADLSA and the employers worked together to update the employment contracts and ensure the alienation of the new legislation within six months. In March 2021, Non-Discriminatory wages came into effect. Finally, in May 2021, the Ministerial Decree extended the legal working hours outdoors. They also ensured that the workers must have access to heat stress training, protective equipment, and medical examinations.
In some cases, if the employee faces any difficulty changing to a new job or leaving their current job, there are many official ways to deal with that situation. For example, suppose the current employer prevents the employee from changing jobs. In that case, the employee can contact the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, and Labor Relations Department through hotline, email, or visit the ADLSA offices around the state of Qatar.