Two weeks after it was implemented, a new law in Qatar governing the entry, exit and residency of expats has been amended by the nation’s Emir.
The changes address a clause in the new law stating that an automated system was to be set up under the Ministry of Interior to grant exit permits.
This was initially supposed to be the case, but officials said last month that expats would still need to ask their employers for permission to leave Qatar for any reason.
However, a new grievance committee has been put into place to address any complaints from expats whose sponsors do not grant the exit permits.
Text of the law
According to Article 7 of Law №21 of 2015 on the Entry, Exit, and Residency of Foreign Nationals:
“The 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.”
The law defined “Competent Authorities” as “the relevant administrative unit of the Ministry of Interior.”
However, the legislation has now been changed to state that expats should inform their “recruiter,” of their exit.
This refers to “the party, employer, head of household, or host who recruits the Foreign National, or who receives transfer of his Residency in accordance with the provisions of this law.”
This basically means that expats still need to ask their employers for permission before leaving the country, as has always been the case.
The amendment also broadened the provision on exit permits, talking not only about vacation time but also stating that:
“The working expat also has the right to permanently leave the country before the end of the contract, after notifying the sponsor.”
Previously, people who wished to quit their jobs couldn’t leave Qatar if their employer refused to accept their resignation or grant them exit permits.
This created a situation in which many people “went underground,” leaving their former place of employment and taking up jobs elsewhere in the country without the necessary paperwork.
Such expats can be classified as runaways or absconders, and face jail time and fines.
Now, expats who wish to quit their jobs and have trouble leaving the country can petition the grievance committee for help.