The proposed sponsorship law took one step closer to be being issued, as the special committee at the Advisory Council completed its study on certain controversial provisions of the draft law.
Legal circles, however, believe that the law is not likely to be finalised before the summer holidays.
The proposed law, regulating entry and exit of foreign workers as well as their residence and sponsorship has triggered widespread interest in various circles. While residents have been anticipating a relaxation of the existing rules, the business community at large has expressed its concerns over such moves.
A meeting of the Advisory Council on Monday referred the law to its Internal and External Affairs Committee for further study after some members expressed apprehensions about some provisions, particularly Article 4 and Article 16. The Committee met yesterday and completed its study on the draft law, reports the Qatar News Agency.
The Committee also studied a draft law organising the Punitive and Corrective Institutions. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Interior
H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry Colonel Hamad Ahmed Al Mohannadi. The Minister explained the Ministry's views on the draft laws and answered queries from the participants.
The Committee has decided to refer its report on the two draft laws to the Advisory Council.
The draft law, however, does not propose any fundamental changes from the existing rules, as far as the entry and exit and sponsorship are concerned. Contrary to expectations, the exit permit system is likely to continue, except in the case of foreigners coming to the country to invest in major projects. The draft law does not stipulate any major changes in the sponsorship system as well, though it has given more powers to the Minister of Interior to take decision on related disputes.
In the last Advisory Council meeting, some members objected to a provision in the draft law that allows residents to keep their passports with them, while working under a sponsor. Article 16 that allows residents to obtain residence permits for their spouses, sons and parents, not for the purpose of employment, also drew criticism from some members. They argued that if residents are allowed to bring their parents and other relatives to the country and obtain RPs for them, it would further increase the pressure on the facilities and services in the country.
Mohsen Dhiyab Al Suwaidi, a prominent Qatari lawyer told The Peninsula yesterday that the Advisory Council is not likely to complete discussions on the draft law before the summer holidays. "Advisory Council will close its sessions for the summer holidays by the end of this month. It is all likely that the meeting would postpone the discussions until the next session after the holidays," said Al Suwaidi.
There is also the possibility that the draft law would be returned to the drafting committee with recommendations of various bodies involved, he added.
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