The new law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates will come into force on December 13, one year after its publication in the official gazette.
The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs recently announced a two-month awareness campaign to promote wider understanding of the changes in the Qatari labour and residency laws.
The executive regulations of the new residency law indicate that expatriate workers who terminate their job contracts and leave the country before completion of the contract period are not allowed to return to the country before the end of the contract period, Al Sharq reports.
The law will have a major impact on expatriate workers as it replaces the sponsorship (Kafala) system with a contract-based one and revoked the exit permit system and workers could come back to Qatar next day of their departure if he/she found new work contracts, said Jaznan Al Shamari, a prominent lawyer and vice-chairman of Qatari Lawyers Association.
Al Shemari said that the law aims to promote human rights and the rights of expatriate workers and seeks establishment of special committees to resolve labour disputes, in addition to the existing labour courts.
“No one needs to fear this law. It protects the rights of all partners employer and the employee— because their relation will be based on the contract and its terms and conditions,” Al Shemari told The Peninsula.
The way one of the parties could cancel the contract is supposed to be mentioned in the contract itself, said Al Shemari, when asked whether the worker can end his contract before its termination date.
The target groups of the two laws the labour law and the residency law are expatriate workers who must be aware of their rights and obligations under the new laws.
According to Abdelaal Khalil, a legal consultant, there is no need for the companies to make new contracts with their employees after implementation of the new law but the existing contracts will be valid as long as the employee is willing to continue in his job.
Some citizens unhappy about new law
However, all types of contracts will start from the date of enforcement of the new law regardless of how many years the employee had served in the company, but this does not mean the previous years of service are not counted, he observed.
He said the new law applies to all expatriate workers, including domestic helps. It is not necessary for newcomers to sign a work contract before coming to Doha, he said.
If the employer has agreed to hire the worker and processed his/her entry visa for work, the worker can sign the contract after arriving in Qatar. However, in case he refuses to sign the contract, he would be forced to go home, said Khalil.
Some citizens, commenting on social media, expressed apprehensions about some provisions of the law but many were more positive as they see it fair and believe that it will create balanced relations between the employer and the employee.
All over the world, people work according to the job contract but in Qatar the sponsorship system was making the employer responsible for everything related to the expatriate employee and this is not fair, said a commentator.
The work contract needs to be certified by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs and the maximum period for work contract is five years.
Those who sign open contracts need to stay with the company for a minimum of five years to change their job, said another comment.
- Guide : How expatriates can change jobs under new residency law
- Sponsorship Law : What you need to know
- Qatar Emir approves new sponsorship law
- Sponsorship Law : Bye-laws to be issued soon
- Published on: 23 October 2016 - By Mohammed Osman / The Peninsula
Disclaimer : Opinions and views expressed here are from the author and legal experts cited. NRICafe.com cannot confirm the details of the law until it has been officially announced by Qatar Government.