Qatar: New expat entry exit law further amended
Shortly after the introduction of a new residency law, Qatar' Emir has added a further provision which entails that an expatriate is permitted to exit the country more easily
Provision of new law amended around entry and exit of expatiates.
According to the new provision, expats can now leave Qatar permanently before contract expires.
Hot on the heels of the implementation of the new residency law on 13 December, 2016, in which key changes included new options for workers to change jobs and apply for exit permits, as well as new regulations to prevent the exploitation of low-income workers, an additional provision has been introduced.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued Law No 1 of 2017 on Wednesday, 4 January, 2017, amending some provisions of the Law No 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit, and residence of expatriates.
The law comes into effect following the date of its publication in the official gazette, Qatar News Agency said.
Under the amendment, an expatriate worker is able to exit the country for holiday, in case of any urgent circumstance, or any other reason after notifying the recruiter, according to the employment contract.
‘Also, the foreign worker shall have the right to leave the country permanently before the expiry of the employment contract after informing the recruiter, according to the employment contract. In case of any objection on the exit or departure of the expatriate worker by the recruiter or the department concerned, the expatriate worker shall have the right to petition the exit permit grievances committee , which shall be formed and regulated by a decision of HE the Minister. The committee shall resolve the petition within three working days.’
The Exit Permit Grievances Committee was formed on 12 December last year, a day prior to the issuance of Law No 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit, and residence of expatriates.
The Exit Permit Grievances Committee has been set up in accordance with Law No 21 of 2015 that abolished the Kafala system and replaced it with a modernised, contract-based employment system and comprises representatives of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and the ministries of Labour and Interior.
the Ministry of Interior (MoI)'s Legal Affairs Department head Brigadier Salim Saqar al-Muraikhi said that within three days after a request is submitted, the panel would be able to reach a decision on granting travel permits to expatriates.
“If there is any grievance regarding the committee's decision on granting the travel permit to an applicant, the affected person can lodge a complaint with the Interior minister,” he added.
Brigadier al-Muraikhi, who is also chairman of the committee.
The employer is compelled to approve any leave owing to the employee which is stated in the contract between them. The employer is also liable to grant leave to his employee in the event of emergencies, the Brigadier added.
In the event that the employer rejects the application, the affected party could make a request to the Grievances Committee, which has relocated to the old Traffic Department office in Madinat Khalifa .
The official added: “Once the committee receives an application , it will verify if the applicant is facing any criminal case or any charges of financial misappropriation. Then the employer will be contacted and he will be asked to explain the reasons for denying the exit permit. If there are no serious complaints pending against the applicant, the committee will grant the travel permit.”
In a statement issued earlier, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs (MADLSA) had said the worker would have the opportunity to contest before the committee any evidence that might have been used against him.
“Further, workers will also have the opportunity to appeal for clemency, in cases where they owe debt but need to return home for a medical or family emergency,” it said.