Qatar’s Emir issues new residency law

A new law issued by Qatar’s Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, states that no foreign worker would be allowed to enter Qatar unless a job contract has been signed with the employer. Both parties have to be signatories.

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Law No. 21 of 2015 is to be implemented one year after the date of its publication in the official gazette. Hotels and tourism facilities providing entry visas to foreigners must inform the authorities concerned if the person is missing for 48 hours and the information passed on within 24 hours.Airport immigration

Spouses, children and parents of expatriates will no longer need exit permits to leave Qatar. An expatriate or the employer must inform the authorities concerned for an exit permit three days prior to departing the country.

In case the employer or the authorities concerned object to the travel, the worker can approach a grievance committee at the Ministry of Interior to seek exit permit. The committee is to be set up and its job is to be specified by a ministerial decision.

An expatriate worker can leave Qatar after getting approval from his employer or the authorities concerned. In emergency cases, the grievance committee, based on an expatriate’s request to leave Qatar, must take a decision within three working days.
Residency permits

Foreign businessmen, investors and real estate owners, as identified by the Cabinet, will be issued residency permits for five years, renewable for a further five years or more. Residency permits of expatriates must be renewed within 90 days of expiry.Qatar residence permit

The employer cannot keep a worker’s passport or travel document except with written permission from him (the worker). Within 30 days of arrival of an expatriate here, the residency permit should be processed. An expatriate’s spouse and children up to 25 years of age (if daughters are unmarried) are entitled to a residency permit. The age limit can be waived by the Minister or his representative. In the case of a newborn, the permit must be stamped within 90 days from the date of birth.

An expatriate worker with a residency permit cannot stay abroad for more than six months unless he or she has sought permission and has paid the required fee. An expatriate worker will be responsible for the entry and stay of his spouse (even if she works) and children.

If divorced, a spouse can apply for approval from the authorities concerned to be the employer’s responsibility. All employers must be responsible for repatriation of their employees and in case of death, repatriation of the bodies home.

Work-related rules

The employer must inform authorities within 24 hours if an expatriate worker has left work and refuses to leave Qatar if the residency permit has been cancelled. Expatriate workers with limited-duration employment contracts can change the employer at the end of their contract period provided they have approval from their existing employer, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.Contract

Before the end of job contract, an expatriate worker can take up another job if approval has been received the present employer and both ministries. If the job contract is open-ended, a worker can change jobs after five years with approval from his current employer and both ministries.

If an employer dies and the company becomes defunct, employees can change jobs with the necessary approvals. The Ministry of Interior can temporarily depute a worker to another company for a temporary period in case of a lawsuit, etc., subject to the approval of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

In case of abuse of a worker, the Minister or his representative can transfer the job of an expatriate worker. An expatriate worker must leave Qatar within 90 days if not issued a residency permit or it has been cancelled or has expired.

The employee can come back to take up a job only after getting approval from authorities and fulfils requirements. Workers deported by court order cannot come back except after approval from the minister or his representative.

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