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Posted On: 6 December 2009 05:08 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Panel to review visa quota woes

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A new mechanism is being put in place to ensure that companies requesting work visas for particular nationalities get them, provided their requests are genuine. Currently, due to quota restrictions in respect of nationalities, companies are not allowed to hire as many workers from a particular country as they would like. The quota restrictions have been in place for a long time to help the authorities strike a demographic balance. A committee has been set up with members from the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), the representative body of the private sector, the Ministry of Interior and the Labour Ministry to create a new mechanism to facilitate the issuance of work visas to companies as per their needs. Proposals to implement the new mechanism are to be discussed soon by the committee to give it finishing touches, it is learnt. “The idea is to ease visa formalities for companies and ensure that based on their genuine need they are able to recruit workers from nationalities of their choice,” said Nasser Al Mir, who heads the contracting committee of the QCCI. According to him, the QCCI has been receiving a lot of complaints from companies that they are not given work visas for workers from countries of their choice. Additionally, a perennial problem with private sector employers — the largest absorbers of the foreign workforce — is that if a firm applies for 10 visas for workers from a particular country, it eventually gets only one or two. “The new mechanism is being worked out in accordance with the recommendations of the private sector. Their visa and nationality-related woes are being addressed,” Al Mir said. He said a code of ethics had been prepared by the Chamber and was ready to be signed by member companies, committing them to keeping workers who have run away from their sponsors at bay. “The companies will take a kind of oath that they would not employ workers who have escaped their original sponsors,” he said. The problem of absconding workers is, though, under control, he said, because the number of projects in the country has come down and companies are not competing anymore to finish projects on hand by employing as many workers as possible. Nevertheless, companies signing a code of ethics will be a good step. “Fighting the menace of escaping workers should not be the responsibility of the state alone. We in the private sector must also contribute our bit,” Al Mir pointed out.