Qatar Law No. 21 of 2015 governing foreigners (in English)
Last week, Qatar’s Emir signed into law new legislation governing the entry, exit and residency of foreigners.
The reforms were billed by officials as changes that would provide expats “with more protection and safeguard their rights.”
However, many residents and rights groups have expressed disappointment at the actual legislation, which does not abolish a system of exit visas and no-objection certificates (NOCs) for the foreign workforce.
Although the text of the law is available in Arabic, no official English translation has been circulated yet. The following is an unofficial translation of Law No. 21 of 2015 by Doha News. We’ll share the official version when it goes up on Qatar’s legal portal Meezan.
On the Entry,
We, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani,
The Labor Law promulgated by Law No. (14) of 2004, as amended,
Law No. (4) of 2009 regulating the Entry, Exit, Residency, and Sponsorship
The draft law proposed by the
And after consulting the
Have decreed the following:
For the purposes
The Entry and Exit of Foreign Nationals
A Foreign National is not permitted to enter or exit the country unless
A Foreign National
The Competent Authority, or any other body determined by
The Entry Visa does not permit the Foreign National seeking work anything except for what is stipulated in his
It is not permitted to
Pilots/Captains of marine vessels, aircrafts, vehicles, or any other form of transportation shall, immediately upon arrival to the country and before departing, report to the Competent Authority
In all cases, the transporter must, at his own expense, return any passenger not carrying a valid Passport, Travel Document, or Visa to the country from which he came or his country of citizenship.
Administrators of tourism
In all cases, anyone who houses a Foreign National must notify the Competent Authorities that oversees the area in which the hotel, tourism facility, or boarding house is located regarding the name and address of the Foreign National
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.
In the event that the Recruiter or the Competent Authorities obstruct the Foreign National laborer’s departure, the Foreign National may seek
Barring this occurrence, a Foreign National laborer is permitted to leave the country immediately after
In the event of an emergency situation facing the Foreign National laborer, the Council must take action on the request within three working days of the request’s submission.
Residency of Foreign Nationals in the Country
Foreign Nationals residing in the country for whatever purpose must obtain a Residency Permit from the Competent Authorities.
The Recruiter must undertake the
The employer must give the Passport or Travel Document to the Foreign National after completing the
The Competent Authorities shall issue the Residency Permit for the Foreign National in accordance with this law. It will contain the Foreign National’s name, image, signature, and personal information as specified in a decree issued by the Minister.
The Recruiter must enable the Foreign National to consult with the Competent Authorities within 30 days of the Foreign National’s entry into the country to complete the licensing procedures regarding residency or visitation. It is incumbent upon the Foreign National to complete these procedures.
The Competent Authorities may
The Foreign National who enters the country for visitation or any other purpose for a period less than 30 days is exempt from the stipulations of the
The Foreign National shall not remain in the country after
The Competent Authorities may issue Residency Permits to the spouse of the Foreign National who has received a Residency Permit, and
The Minister or his representative
The Competent Authorities may issue Residency Permits to the non-Qatari spouse and
The specifications for the conditions of issuing Residency Permits, as stipulated in this Article, are contained in a decree issued by the Minister.
The Foreign National who has obtained Residency Permits for his family shall submit a request for a Residency Permit for any newborn child of his within 90 days of the
In the event that the birth took place outside the borders of the country while the parent of the newborn
Recruiters of any female Foreign National who entered for visitation purposes must resolve the status of any of the Foreign National’s
The Foreign National who obtained a Residency Permit shall not reside outside of the country for a period that exceeds six continuous months, unless prior to his travels or one year since his departure he had obtained permission to
The Minister or his representative may extend the time limitations mentioned in the preceding Paragraph.
During his residency, the Foreign National shall submit his Passport, Travel Document, or Residency Permit to the Competent Authorities when requested. He shall answer any questions asked of him, and within the appointed time established for him.
In the event that his Passport, Travel Document, or Residency Permit is lost or damaged, the Foreign National
The Foreign National who obtained an Entry Permit or Residency Permit for a specific purpose, or for work with a specific party, shall not violate the
It is not in violation of the purpose of the Residency Permit if the Foreign National, in agreement with the Competent Authorities, undertakes some administrative work in an authorized partner organization.
Recruitment of Foreign Nationals
The person responsible for the residency of the Foreign National is specified as follows:
employer of the Foreign National or owner of the business within which the Foreign National works.
head of household, as determined by the other individuals of his family residing in the country. A female Foreign National with a Residency Permit may retain the head of household as her Recruiter, even if she finds employment elsewhere.
If a marriage ends in divorce for whatever reason, any member of the family may transfer to another Recruiter after authorization from the Competent Authorities, in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the decree issued by the Minister.
host, as regards a visiting Foreign National.
Official bodies of the state, as regards Foreign Nationals who have arrived for purposes other than those mentioned.
The Recruiter, whether a person or a
He must be Qatari or a Foreign National legally residing in the country. If the Recruiter is a
body corporate, then its main headquarters or administrative branch must be located in the country.
He must be qualified to bear the responsibilities, as prescribed in this law, towards the Foreign National.
The Recruiter is obligated to do the following:
Notify the Competent Authorities
within 14 days of the Foreign National leaving his specified work, or his failure to leave the country following the revocation or expiration of his Residency Permit, or exceeding the time limit stipulated in Article (8) Paragraph (2) of this law, or exceeding the visitation period, or the expiration of the stated purpose for which he was issued an Entry Permit.
Bear the expenses of repatriating the Foreign National to his country when required in accordance with this law. If it were proven that the Foreign National worked for another party in violation of this law, then that party shall bear the expenses of the Foreign National’s repatriation. If the identity of this other party cannot be established, the Foreign National
shall bear the expenses. In the event that the Foreign National does not possess the resources to bear the expenses, then the Recruiter shall bear those expenses.
In all cases, whosoever uses a Foreign National for unauthorized labor in violation of this law shall be required to bear the expenses of his repatriation
Bear the expenses of preparing and burying a deceased Foreign National, in a designated burial place within the country, regardless of the cause of death.
In the event that one of the deceased’s relatives or any other specified party requested that the remains be transported abroad, the Recruiter shall cover the expenses of transporting the remains to the deceased’s country of citizenship or place of permanent residence.
The Ministry may require the Recruiter of a Foreign National laborer, subject to the referenced Labor
In the event that the Recruiter is a public employee and has violated his obligations towards the Foreign National, the Ministry may garner his wages in order to cover the expenses of the Foreign National’s repatriation, in coordination with the employing agency.
The employer, the Competent Authorities, and the
The Foreign National laborer may, with authorization from the Competent Authorities and the
In all cases, the employer serving as the Recruiter shall not have his legal rights, nor the contract between him and Foreign National, violated, in accordance with
The Minister or his representative may authorize the temporary transfer of a Foreign National laborer to another employer in the event of
The Minister or his representative may authorize the transfer of a Foreign National laborer who is not subject to the referenced Labor Law to another employer if proven that the Recruiter was abusive, or if required by the general welfare.
No Recruiter, person or body corporate, shall permit any Foreign National laborer to be employed by another employer, or use laborers whom
As an exception, the Competent Authorities may permit the Recruiter to loan his Foreign National laborer
The Competent Authorities may permit the Foreign National to work part-time for another employer during hours which do not conflict with his original work, with the written agreement of the Recruiter to that end.
In all cases,
Departure, Repatriation, Deportation, and
If the Foreign National does not obtain a Residency Permit in accordance with this law, then he must leave the country.
The Foreign National must also leave the country within 90 days if his Residency Permit expires or
The Foreign National may, with authorization from the Competent Authorities, reenter the country provided that he has fulfilled the conditions necessary for entry, as
As an exception to the provisions of any other law,
If the laborer
For the Foreign National who has been ordered by court ruling to be deported or repatriated may not reenter the country unless decreed otherwise by the Minister.
The Minister or his representative may afford the Foreign National,
The Minister may consign, when necessary, a Foreign National who has received a deportation order from a court ruling or repatriation order from the state to a place designated for that purpose for a period not in excess of 30 days, subject to extensions of varying lengths of time.
When it is not possible to execute the ruling or order specified in the preceding paragraph, the Minister may impose residency in a designated place for a period of two weeks, subject to extension.
The Foreign National must proceed to the local security branch relative to the designated place within the appointed time in accordance with the issued order. He will remain there until his deportation or repatriation.
Entry, Exit, and Residency
The entry, exit, and residency of groups is stipulated in this Chapter, in accordance with the provisions contained therein.
The Minister may issue Visas and Residency Permits without need of a Recruiter, for the following groups:
Investors subject to the provisions of the law regulating foreign capital investment
in economic activity.
Real estate or housing unit owners or beneficiaries, in accordance with the law regulating foreign ownership and entitlement of real estate and housing units.
Any other group specified by a decree issued by the
Residency Permits to the groups specified in the preceding Article shall be issued in accordance with following conditions:
The applicant submits the supporting documentation for his application.
is of good conduct and sound reputation.
The period of residency shall be five years, subject to extensions of varying lengths of time.
Residency Permits may be issued with no requirement for work, for the spouse, children, or parents of the person holding the Residency Permit, in accordance with Article (30) of this law.
The person holding
The person holding a valid Residency Permit shall not violate the purpose of his stay as stated on his Residency Permit, unless he has obtained permission to do so from the Competent Authorities.
In the event of the expiration or denied renewal of the Residency Permit, the Minister or his representative may
The Residency Permit will be revoked in the following cases:
If it is proven that the applicant obtained the Residency Permit by submitting false documents.
If the continuation of the residency would imperil the safety or security of the state within the country or abroad, or harm the national economy, public health, or public morals.
If the purpose of the stay as stated on the Residency Permit is violated or expires, without receiving permission to that end from the Competent Authorities.
Without prejudice to any other law carrying a more
The penalty for a recurring infraction is incarceration for a period no less than 30 days and not in excess of three years and a fine no less than twenty-thousand (20,000) Riyals and not in excess of one hundred-thousand (100,000) Riyals, or either of those two penalties.
Without prejudice to any other law carrying a more severe penalty:
Anyone who violates the provisions of Article (8) Paragraph (3) of this law shall be subject to a fine not in excess of twenty-five-thousand (25,000) Riyals.
Anyone who violates the provisions of Article (19) Item (1) of this law shall be subject to a fine not in excess of fifty-thousand (50,000) Riyals.
Without prejudice to any other law carrying a more severe penalty:
who violates the provision of Article (6) shall be subject to a fine not in excess of twenty-thousand (20,000) Riyals.
Anyone who violates any of the provisions contained in Article (5) Paragraph (1); Article (8) Paragraphs (1) and (2); Article (10) Paragraph (1); Article (13) Paragraphs (1) and (3); or Article (15) of this law shall be subject to a fine not in excess of ten-thousand (10,000) Riyals
Extraction of a court ordered fine issued as a penalty for one of the crimes stipulated in this law shall not be halted.
The Minister or his
If the accused refuses the settlement or does not fulfill his part
Employees of the Competent Authorities shall oversee the settlement procedures for the crimes stipulated in this law. The settlement offer must be presented to the accused and official record made of its occurrence. The accused who agrees to the settlement must pay the sum specified in the Table appended to this law, and as such the accused forfeits his recourse to the criminal courts. He shall deposit the sum in the Ministry’s accounts.
If settlement is reached, then the
Anyone accused of the crimes stipulated in this law is not permitted to leave the country before paying the sum specified in the
As an exception to the preceding Paragraph, the Minister may order the revocation of the Residency Permit of the Foreign National accused of any crimes stipulated in this law and order his expulsion from the
The Minister or his representative, in accordance with the general welfare or humane considerations, may pardon the accused and excuse him from paying
Without prejudice to the provisions of International Agreements to which the state is a party, the provisions of this law do not apply to the following groups:
Foreign heads of state, their family members, and their associates.
Presidents and members of
foreign diplomatic missions, consulates, or international bodies recognized by the state, their associates and administrators, their families and dependents, and any official delegations.
and their crew from civilian marine vessels or aircrafts from abroad who carry Passports or Travel Documents from the relevant authorities of their country after having received clearance to alight from the state.
Citizens of states that are party to the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Whosoever the Minister
determines is deserving of exemption based on considerations of the principle of reciprocity, international courtesy, the general welfare, or humane considerations.
Without prejudice to
The inclusion on the aforementioned list of banned individuals shall preclude any or all requests submitted by the violator from consideration for the furtherance of the provisions of this law.
The Minister shall issue the implementing regulations and the necessary decrees in order to apply the provisions of this law. Until their issuance,
The referenced Law No. (4) of 2009 is repealed, as is every provision that violates the provisions of this law.
All Competent Authorities must apply this law in every aspect relevant to their work, and proceed in accordance with its provisions after one year has elapsed
Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar
Article (2) Paragraph (1); Article (3); Article (4) Paragraph (3); Article (8) Paragraph (3); Article (16) Paragraph (1); Article (19) Item (1); Article (23) Paragraph (1); Article (24) Paragraphs (1) and (2); Article (35)
Article (28) Paragraph (3)
Article (5) Paragraph (1); Article (15)
Article (10) Paragraph (1)
(10) Riyal for each day late, with a maximum limit of (20,000) Riyal
Article (11) Paragraph (2)
(10) Riyal for each day late, with a maximum limit of (12,000) Riyal
Article (8) Paragraph (1) and (2); Article (13) Paragraphs (1) and (3)
(10) Riyal for each day late, with a maximum limit of (20,000) Riyal