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Qatar Emir amends new Exit Law for expats

Two weeks following its implementation, a new law in Qatar governing the entry, exit and residency of expatriates has been amended by the Emir of Qatar.

The changes incorporated, rectify a clause in the new law which stipulates that an automated system has been set up under the Interior Ministry to grant exit permits. Although this was initially supposed to be the case, officials last month said that expats will still have to seek permission from their employers before leaving Qatar for any reason.

But, a new Grievance Committee has been put in place to address any complaints from expats whose sponsors do not grant the exit permits.

Article 7 of Law No.21 of 2015 on the Entry, Exit and Residency of Foreign Nationals reads “A Foreign National Laborer or the Recruiter must notify the Competent Authorities each time the Foreign National leaves the country, prior to his leaving by at least three days”.

As per the law, “Competent Authorities” refer to the relevant administrative unit of the Interior Ministry. But, the legislation has now been amended to state that expats should inform the “recruiter” about the exit.

This implies “The party, employer, head of household, or host who recruits the expat, or who receives transfer of his Residency as per the provisions of the law”.

Basically, it means that all expats will still have to seek their employers’ permission before leaving Qatar, as has always been the case.

Further broadening the provision on exit permits, the amendment said that the working expat can also permanently leave the country prior to end of the contract, on notifying the sponsor.

Earlier, expats who wished to quit their jobs were not able to leave Qatar in case their employer refused to accept their resignation or grant them exit permits. Therefore, many people “went underground”, leaving their former place of employment and took up jobs elsewhere in Qatar, without the necessary paperwork. Such expats were classified as absconder or runaways, and they had to face jail time and fines. Now, expats who wish to quit their jobs and face trouble in leaving the country can file a petition at the Grievance Committee for help.

Posted on 10/1/2017

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