Qatar announces new labour reforms for expatriates

Qatar has announced that with immediate effect, exit permits will be removed for expatriates who are not currently subject to Qatar’s Labour Law. Qatar continues to strengthen its laws, ensuring policies are aligned with international labour standards. 

The Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, issued Ministerial Decision No 95 of 2019, amending exit procedures and removing exit permits with immediate effect for expatriates who are not subject to Qatar’s Labour Law, Government Communications Office tweeted. 

Under the new decision, expatriates employed in the following categories are free to leave Qatar either temporarily or permanently during their employment contract: 
1) Ministries and other government entities and public institutions 
2) Oil and gas companies 
3) Maritime Companies
4) Agricultural companies 
5) All other types of temporary work

The new decision does not apply to members of the Qatari Armed Forces.

Employers have the right to identify a maximum of five percent of their workforce whose exit from Qatar will continue to require prior approval due to their high level of responsibility.

Under the new decision, domestic workers subject to Law No 15 of 2017 are also free to leave the country either temporarily or permanently during their employment contract.

To guarantee the rights of both employers and domestic workers, all domestic workers should notify their employer atleast 72 hours prior to their departure.

„The new decision came in accordance with the provisions of the second paragraph of Article 7 of Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residency,” Director General of Passports Directorate in the Ministry of Interior Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Ateeq stated adding that implementation of these measures is underway.

Commenting on abolishing exit permits, Assistant Undersecretary for Labor Affairs at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs Mohammed Hassan Al Obaidli said: ” The government of the State of Qatar has worked closely with local and international partners and has implemented vast reforms to strengthen labor laws and increase protection for expatriate workers, which has made Qatar a leader in the region. This decision is a declaration of our firm commitment to developing a modern system that is suits to the needs of both employers and expatriate workers”.