What you need to know about Qatar’s new labour law

Ashlee's picture

After more than a year of anticipation since reforms to Qatar’s kafala sponsorship system were announced, Law No21 of 2015 governing the entry, exit, and residence of expats came into effect on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. For many of those living and working in our community, this means more freedom of mobility when it comes to changing jobs and entering and exiting the country.


Here’s a few clarifying pointers to help break it down:


1. ) All contracts issued under the new law will now be between ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ rather than ‘employee’ and ‘sponsor’


2. ) Exit permits will still be issued upon request to one’s employer. Previously it was announced that a new, automated application system would be set up to allow employees to apply online directly for an exit permit.


3.) A grievance committee has been created which allows employees to lodge a complaint hearing in the event that their employer refuses to provide an exit permit.


4.) Individuals under personal sponsorship -- ex: family visa -- will no longer require an exit permit applied for by their family sponsor, (spouse/parent), to leave the country.


5.) Employees on fixed term contracts are now free to change jobs upon completion of their contract period without the need for a No Objection Certificate (NOC).


6.) Employees on open-ended contracts must complete a five-year term of service before switching jobs without the need for an NOC.


7.) All new contracts for expats under the updated law will have to be approved by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs before a work visa can be issued. This is to strengthen protection towards foreign workers and to ensure that the contract they agree to is actually what is implemented upon arrival in Qatar.


8.) Fines for employers who hold on to the passports of their employees has increased to QR 25,000 per worker.


We want to know your thoughts on the new reforms and their effect on your life in Qatar. Drop us a line in the comments section below!