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Posted On: 28 April 2015 05:08 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:15 pm

New rules on sponsorship likely this year

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The new sponsorship and exit permit rules can be expected sometime this year, says Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. H E Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi (picture below) said changes to the ‘kafala’ (sponsorship) system, which covers the entry and departure of foreign nationals, fall under the purview of the Ministry of Interior.


“Our ministry’s only input concerning labour is that residency will be contract-based. Once the contract expires, the labourer will be free to change employers or leave the country,” said Al Khulaifi. In an interview to The Report Qatar 2015 by Oxford Business Group, Al Khulaifi said that if during a contract an employee wants to leave, he can apply online through the Ministry of Interior and within 72 hours he will be given an exit permit.

“These changes have yet to be implemented and are currently awaiting the approval of the Shura (Advisory) Council, which I expect to be granted sometime in 2015.”

About the wage protection system (WPS), the proposed online salary payment mode for low-income workers, the minister clarified that a fine of QR2,000 ($548) will be imposed on companies for delaying payments per worker per day. He hinted that the WPS will be rolled out gradually and cover all companies in the country within a year after its launch.

Some 300 inspectors of his ministry randomly inspect housing, health and safety on companies’ premises. If any violations are discovered, firms are blacklisted and cannot receive visas until the violations are resolved.

About the summer timings for site workers that are effective every year from mid-June until August-end, the minister said that last year some 50 companies were penalised for violating this regulation. The labour relations department has installed kiosks which are interactive and workers can file complaints in seven languages.

There is a proposal to raise the quota of jobs for Qataris in the private sector to 25 percent from an existing 20, the minister said.

The proposal is inspired by the success to date of Qatarisation in the private sector, particularly banking, financial services and industrial sectors.

Qatarisation has been in place for over a decade, said the minister. The figure approved by the Cabinet is a 20 percent minimum, which more than two-thirds of private companies have exceeded.

The minister admitted that they faced a dilemma as regards to changing the perception of Qataris towards private sector employment since the substantial increases in the government’s pay scheme. He, however, said that despite that the ministry has been quite successful in getting nationals into the private sector.