Qatar: New Labour Law to ease Sponsorship Change from next month

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Newly arrived expatriates in Qatar will have a period of 30 days to start the process of regularising their residency in the country, according to Law No 21 for 2015 on the entry, exit, and residency of expatriates, which will come into force next month.

The period was set at seven days under Law No 4 for 2009 regulating the entry, exit, residence and sponsorship of expatriates, Brigadier Abdulla Jabir al-Libdah, director of the Search and Follow up Department (SFD) at the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said in an interview with local Arabic daily Arrayah.

Last year, HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued Law No 21 of 2015, which abolishes the stipulations of Law No 4 of 2009 regarding regulation of expatriates’ entry, departure, residence and sponsorship.

Brigadier al-Libdah pointed out that the new law makes it possible for an expatriate worker to transfer to another employer before the end of the work contract, subject to approval from the original employer, the departments concerned and the Ministry of Administrative Development and Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA).

Besides, expatriate workers may transfer to other employers as soon as the contract period expires or after completing five years in case of open-ended contracts, upon obtaining the approval of MADLSA.

He stressed that new law has maintained a fair balance between the rights of both the worker and the employer. In case of a dispute between the expatriate worker and the employer or recruiter, it is possible to grant the worker temporary transfer to another employer with the approval of MADLSA. However, for expatriate workers who are not covered by the law, the transfer can be granted when it is proven that the employer has abused his rights.

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The SFD has also made the necessary preparations to implement and enforce the new law, it was observed.

Regarding the amnesty granted by the MoI for expatriate workers violating the regulations of Law No 4 for 2009 to leave the country without facing any legal consequences or prosecution, which ends on December 1, the SFD director stressed that nobody who gives himself up to the department is to be arrested or detained.

Such persons are received by the department to process their necessary travel documents and procedures and help them get an exit permit to leave the country on their own without being accompanied by any MoI personnel.

He said a large number of violators have turned up to benefit from the amnesty scheme and expects more to come in the coming few days.

He also stressed that SFD maintains close co-operation and co-ordination with embassies on related issues, in particular to resolve complaints and difficulties faced by the expatriate workforce.

Regarding the detention centre for deportation, he said the inmates are provided with a modern facility and are also allowed visits by the representatives of their embassies.

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