New Law Offers Way Out for Disgruntled expatriates
Any expatriate employee who feels oppressed because of unfair treatment by his sponsor may apply for transfer of sponsorship to the Ministry of Interior under a new sponsorship law that is to be announced soon, according to a report published in the local Arabic daily Al Arab. Quoting the director of the human rights department in the ministry, Abdullah Saqr al-Muhannadi, the report says that the new law will enable an employee to file a complaint with the department on the grounds of non-payment of dues, non-provision of accommodation and other related issues. T
he department may recommend a transfer of the sponsorship to the ministry after investigating the case. This statement has, however, elicited a negative reaction from the chamber of commerce and industry. The chamber’s deputy chairman, Abdul Aziz al-Emadi, has said: “We do not oppose the review of the sponsorship law and introducing new strictures but we do not agree to any change that may upset the relationship between the employee and his sponsor. “The present law is adequate and covers a wide range of issues.
The proposed change in the law should not become a cause for economic instability and impinge on the rights of the sponsors. “If an employee is not being paid his dues or is being asked to work more than what is humanly possible, it is lawful for him to seek redress and transfer of sponsorship to the ministry. “But if the employer complies with the terms of the employment contract and gives no grounds of complaint, then there is no logic in opening door for transfer of sponsorship. “This will set in motion a new trend of luring manpower by offering better terms from another employer. Ultimately, this may lead to a volatile situation. “Expatriates manpower is very much like an engine. It is the engine which runs the national economy.
It is essential that we make the engine run smoothly. “There is also some criticism about the need to maintain the procedure of exit visas for all expatriate employees. “The exit visa protects the rights of both the employee and the employer. There have been instances of non-payment of loans due from the employees to the banks. “Exit visa is a deterrent to malpractices on the part of the employee and it should not be abolished unless some other mechanism is introduced by the government.” According to the report published by the Manpower Market Forum last month, the total volume of manpower in Qatar is 500,000, of which 98% are employed in the private sector. Two percent of employees in the private sector are Qatari nationals. The total volume of expatriate manpower in the GCC countries is expected to be 21mn by the year 2015.
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