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Posted On: 4 September 2018 09:12 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:19 pm

Exit permit for Qatar expats under Labor Law scrapped!

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We've reported during Labor Day 2018 the possibility of getting the controversial exit visa system—which requires workers to obtain their employers' permission to leave the country—abolished when the International Labour Organization (ILO) opened their first office in Doha on (April 29).

The report dated May 1 said that the landmark deal could happen within a fortnight but it was just today (September 4) when The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued Law No. 13 of 2018, amending certain provisions of the Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates.

The updated labor law states that migrant workers in Qatar under the Labor Law will no longer have to obtain exit permits in order to leave the country temporarily or for good within the duration of the work contract.

New legislation adopted on 4 September 2018, marks a significant step changing one of the most controversial point in Qatar Labour Law and it upholds the rights of workers in Qatar.

No more exit permit for migrant workers in Qatar!

Law No. 13 of 2018, amends provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015 and Law No. 1 of 2017, which regulate the entry and exit of expatriates. Under the previous legal framework, all migrant workers were required to obtain an exit permit from their employer in order to leave Qatar. With this new law, migrant workers covered by the Labor Code will be able to leave Qatar without having to obtain such a permit.

“The ILO welcomes the enactment of Law No. 13, which will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of migrant workers in Qatar. This first step towards full suppression of exit permits is a clear sign of commitment by the Government of Qatar to labor reforms and a key milestone in the process. The ILO will continue to work closely with the government of Qatar on these reforms,” said Houtan Homayounpour, the Head of the ILO Project Office for the State of Qatar.

This new law specifies that employers may submit for approval to the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs the names of workers for whom a “no objection certificate” would still be required, with a justification based on the nature of their work. The number of these workers per company shall not exceed five per cent of their workforce.

A Ministerial Decree will follow outlining rules and procedures allowing the exit of workers who fall outside the Labor Code.

ILO office in Qatar

“The adoption of this law is another step in our continued drive to provide decent work for all migrant workers in Qatar and to ensure their protection," H E Dr Issa Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.

The opening of an ILO Project Office in Qatar a few months back is geared to support the implementation of a comprehensive program on working conditions and labour rights in the country. The initiative reflects the common commitment of both the Government of Qatar and the ILO to cooperate on ensuring compliance with ratified international labor Conventions, as well as achieving fundamental principles and rights at work in the State of Qatar in a gradual manner during the period 2018 to 2020.

Are you among the many expat workers in the country were overjoyed by this news? What do you think will be the likely effects of not having the need to apply for an exit permit to Qatar's migrant workforce? Drop us a line in the comments below and also, don't forget to like and share this article—it keeps us going!


(Cover image courtesy of