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Posted On: 2 September 2020 05:00 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Questions and answers about the abolishment of NOC; Kafala in Qatar

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In a historic move made by Qatar on 30 August 2020, expats working in Qatar no longer need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their present employer/sponsor when they want to switch jobs (even if their employment contract is still valid) or sponsorship. Before this historic move, under Qatar's "kafala" (Arabic word for sponsorship) system, expats in Qatar had to get their employers' permission - a NOC - before changing jobs.

Since this law was passed on Sunday, we have received many queries from expats in Qatar wanting more information about the new NOC law. We have compiled those questions put forward by you and given their answers below:

1. What exactly is the new law in Qatar regarding the NOC?

According to Law No. 18 of 2020, expat/migrant workers can change jobs before the end of their contract without first having to obtain a NOC from their employer. This new law, coupled with the removal of exit permit requirements earlier in the year, effectively dismantles the “kafala" or sponsorship system.

Employees and employers will be able to terminate contracts, whether fixed-term or open-ended, subject to a minimum notice period.

2. When will this new NOC law take effect?

9 September 2020, Official Gazette announced to be effective immediately.

3. What is the Official Gazette of Qatar?

Law No. 1 of 1961 in Qatar established an Official Gazette for the Government of Qatar in which all legislation is published following the effective date of its coming into force. The purpose of the Official Gazette is to inform the general public of the promulgation of new legislation.

Each new legislation is normally made public 30 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. However, such a period may be shortened or extended by an express provision in the new legislation, without prejudice to former rules applicable in the existing legislation.

All competent authorities, each in their respective jurisdiction, shall enforce any law that is passed with effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

4. Without the NOC, what is the process for terminating a contract?

Employees and employers will be able to terminate contracts, whether fixed-term or open-ended, subject to a minimum notice period.

If the employment contract is fixed-term, the employee must provide notice before the expiry of the contract by 30 days. However, if the employment contract is indefinite, either party must provide one month written notice if the worker has worked for the employer for five years or less of the contract, or two months’ notice if they have worked with the employer for over five years.

5. What if the employer/worker terminates the contract without prior notice?

If the contract is terminated without appropriate notice, the party terminating is obligated to pay the other party a compensation equal to the basic wage of the employee for the notice period.

6. What are the benefits of removing the NOC?

The removal of the NOC requirement will increase the mobility of talent within Qatar and give workers the freedom to change jobs. This severs the contractual ties to their employer and will lead to increased job satisfaction.

7. What is the significance of this measure?

The removal of the NOC requirement will increase the mobility of talent within Qatar and give workers the freedom to change jobs. This severs the contractual ties to their employer and will lead to increased job satisfaction.

8. How will this "no NOC required" law benefit employers?

The new laws will lead to:

  • Better job matching where employers can recruit workers with the right skills to carry out the tasks and previous experience in Qatar.
  • A decrease in recruitment and repatriation costs through local recruitment.
  • Increased job satisfaction leading to higher retention of workers.

    9. Does this law apply only to minimum wage earners?

    This applies to everyone, both Qataris and expats - anyone under company sponsorship.

    10. Does this law apply to private companies?

    Yes, this law applies to public sector workers and private-sector workers that are covered by the Qatar Labour Law No. 14 of 2004, and also includes domestic workers, fishermen, agricultural and grazing workers.

    11. How will this law create more competition and innovation in Qatar?

    • The new law is setting a new standard for the region and make will make Qatar a more attractive destination for talented and skilled workers.
    • This decision will drive greater competition in Qatar’s labour market, pushing employers to attract and retain the best talent who will support Qatar’s transition to a diversified economy.
    • A diversified economy will attract further investment in the local economy and nurture an innovative environment.
    • The new decision adds to an already dynamic labour market where employees are able to gain new skills.

    12. What exactly will the new procedure be to change jobs in Qatar when the 'No NOC required' law comes into effect?

    The procedure for changing one's your job is as follows

    1. The workers should notify his/her employer through the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) through their electronic system:

    • The worker should give a one-month notice if/she has been on the job for two years or less.
    • The worker should give a two-month notice if/she has been on the job for more than two years.

    2. The worker should express his/her intention to change jobs through MADLSA's electronic system with the following documents attached (The system/site will only work from Sunday to Thursday, from 7 am to 2 pm)

    • MADLSA change-of-employer form
    • ID Card number
    • Mobile number
    • Copy of the contract signed with the former employer authenticated by MADLSA (or the employment offer in the absence of a copy of the contract)
    • The new employer's job offer in Arabic and English.
      Letter ofnotice
    • Establishment’s Registration
    • In case of perceptions of arbitration by the company, the employee should require a letter of perceptions of arbitrary to prove it.

    3. The worker and the new employer should receive SMS from MADLSA confirming the request for sponsorship change and then confirming the change of employment.

    4. The new employer should initiate the electronic employment contract on MADLSA's Digital Authentication System.

    5. The new employer should print out the employment contract, discuss and sign it with the worker.

    6. The new employer should upload the signed employment contract on MADLSA's Digital Authentication System, and pay the authentication fee of QR 60.

    7. When the employment contract is authenticated, the new employer should submit a request for a new Qatar ID to the Ministry of Interior.

    • Upon completion of this procedure, the worker will be able to start the new job.
    • The worker should receive his/her new Qatar ID and health card from the new employer.

    Note: Both workers and employers can download a copy of the employment contract at all times through the Digital Authentication System.

    Image source: MADLSA

    13. When does the notice period start?

    The notice period starts immediately after the form is submitted on the MADLSA's website. Applications and approvals are subjected to all the conditions stated by the Ministry.

    14. If there is a 'non-compete' clause in the employment contract, will the employee still get a NOC??

    If there is a 'non-compete' clause in the employment contract, the worker will not be able to change jobs within the same economic sector for a period of one year after leaving the job.

    15. After the worker gives notice and gets the NOC, does the worker get any entitlement from the employer?

    Workers will be entitled to:

    • End-of-service benefits from the former employer (if they have been working with them for over a year).
    • Be paid for any due annual leave
    • Collect their pay in full during the notice period.

    16. What happens if the employer doesn't fulfil the legal obligations?

    If the employer fails to fulfil all legal obligations, the worker will not be bound to observe a notice period to change jobs.

    Image source: MADLSA

    For more information,

    For more information on the abolishment of the NOC in Qatar and the new minimum wage in Qatar, click on the following links:

    Source: MADLSA