To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.
At a Glance
- The Council of Ministers endorsed
draft legislation that would further reform the immigration and
labor environment in Qatar and would complement the proposals
announced earlier this month.
- Main changes would include the
elimination of the exit permit and a higher minimum salary for
foreign workers, among other changes.
- Details on the new legislation,
including implementation dates, are expected to be announced in the
The Council of Ministers has endorsed draft legislation that
would complement last month's proposed reforms and improve the
rights and mobility of foreign nationals in Qatar.
A closer look
The key proposals include:
Elimination of exit permits. The exit permit system would be
eliminated for all foreign nationals, including those not
subject to Qatari labor law, such as domestic workers.
It is also
expected that a provision in the law allowing employers to identify
up to five percent of their headcount who must obtain their
sponsor's pre-approval to depart Qatar would also be
subject to the labor law may impose a requirement for 5% of their
employee population to obtain employer consent prior to leaving
nationals employed by companies in the free zones require an exit
permit in order to leave Qatar.
workers; workers in government and public institutions; workers
employed at sea and in agriculture and casual workers require exit
permits to leave the country.
- Exit permits would most likely be
entirely eliminated from the Qatari immigration system, which would
grant foreign nationals greater mobility as they will be able to
leave without having to obtain approval from their employer.
- Changing jobs without
No-Objection Certificate. Foreign employees who have
completed an initial probationary employment period (which has not
yet been defined) would be able to change jobs without requiring
written consent (known as a No-Objection Certificate or
"NOC") from their current employer. If the foreign
national changes employers, the new employer would need to
reimburse any recruitment costs for obtaining a replacement worker
to the original employer. It is not yet clear how this cost will be
- In situations where the minimum
duration of the employment contract has not been completed, foreign
national employees must obtain an NOC from their current employer
before they can change jobs. Foreign nationals must also have
completed at least 12 months of employment with the current
employer before they are able to apply for a sponsorship
nationals would have greater opportunities to change employers in
Qatar, granting them greater autonomy over their career path.
Businesses in Qatar would also be able to access a wider talent
pool in Qatar.
It is not yet
clear whether the minimum 12-month employment period for
sponsorship transfer would apply and how this requirement would
interact with the minimum probationary period.
- New minimum salary
level. A likely higher minimum salary level would be
introduced for workers of all nationalities.
- Currently, the minimum salary
requirement to obtain employment status in Qatar is QAR 750
(approximately USD 206) per month.
- If the minimum salary level was
raised, businesses would likely need to ensure foreign nationals
are paid the appropriate amount to continue sponsoring them.
The proposals were announced during the recent conference with
the International Labour Organization in Doha and were endorsed by
the Council of Ministers.
Qatar is currently considered the second most competitive Arab
economy based on the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 and these
reforms should help the country maintain this status. Fragomen
expects Qatar to continue liberalizing its immigration system,
especially as it comes under global scrutiny as it prepares to host
the World Cup in 2022. Specifically, new free zones, where
companies are taxed less than in other regions of the country, are
expected to be implemented within Qatar.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Immigration from Qatar