The much-awaited changes to Qatar’s kafala system would come into force only a year after the new sponsorship law is passed and published in the official gazette, The Peninsula has reported.
The law, which would replace the current sponsorship system, is likely to be issued by the year-end as its draft was yesterday referred by the Cabinet to higher-ups for final approval and issuance.
Article 50 of the Draft Law indicates that it is to be put into force only a year after its publication in the official gazette, according to famous lawyer Yusuf Al Zaman.
The reason for the time to be allowed for the law’s enforcement is to ensure that a conducive social and economic environment is created in the country and administrative and executive agencies are ready for applying the new system.
That would also give the private companies covered by the labour law enough time to correct their situation to be able to comply with the changes, Al Zaman said.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) reports :
The cabinet took the necessary measures to issue a law regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates after reviewing the recommendation of the Advisory Council on the draft law.
The bill included provisions related to regulating the procedures and conditions of expatriates’ entry, exit, residency, recruitment as well as switching to a different employer and the commitments of the recruiter and the expatriate.
Even though the detailed reforms to the law have not been announced, legal experts have revealed some points to the media.
Replacement of common terms
For the first time in more than 50 years, in the new law being introduced, terms like ‘sponsor’ (kafeel), ‘sponsorship’ (kafala), ‘exit permit’ (tashera al khurooj) will not be used, as the sponsorship law which has those terms was enforced in 1963, The Peninsula reports citing lawyer Yusuf Al Zaman.
They would be replaced by newer ones like ‘employer’, ‘employee’ or ‘expat worker’ as the new law would regulate the relationship of foreign worker with his employer based on job contract they mutually agree to sign.
No more exit permit required
The draft does away with the exit permit system but the Advisory Council has recommended that expatriates leaving the country must inform their employers at least three days in advance, said Al Zaman.
- The employer would, though, have no right to object and stop the worker from travelling overseas.
- If at all, that right will be exercised only by the public prosecution, the courts or any other competent legal authority. And that right would be exercised only if there is a lawsuit against an expat worker or any other legal issue.
- In those circumstance also an order to prevent a worker from travelling abroad must be issued by public prosecution or a court or any other legal authority, said Al Zaman.
Change of jobs after employment term
According to another article in The Peninsula by Dr Jamal Abdullah of Aljazeera Centre for Studies, employees would be no longer required to obtain a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from their sponsor, and can move to another job once their fixed-term employment contract ends.
If their employment term has no fixed duration, employees can move to another job after five years have passed since the start of their employment contract.
However, the terms and regulations of the new law will be clear only when it is officially announced by the authorities. As per latest reports, even if the law gets announced this year, it would come into force only after one year.