Qatar Lifts Exit Visa System; Workers Can Now Leave Without Permits

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Migrant workers in Qatar covered by the Labour Code will no longer have to obtain exit permits in order to leave the country.

The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued on Tuesday the Law No. 13 of 2018, amending certain provisions of the Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates.

 

New legislation adopted on September 4 , 2018 marks a significant step changing one of the most controversial points in Qatar Labour Law and it upholds the rights of workers in Qatar.

Law No. 13 of 2018, amends provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015 and Law No. 1 of 2017, which regulate the entry and exit of expatriates.

Under the previous legal framework, all migrant workers were required to obtain an exit permit from their employer in order to leave Qatar.

With this new law, migrant workers covered by the Labour Code will be able to leave Qatar without having to obtain such a permit.

“The ILO welcomes the enactment of Law No. 13, which will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of migrant workers in Qatar. This first step towards full suppression of exit permits is a clear sign of commitment by the Government of Qatar to labour reforms and a key milestone in the process. The ILO will continue to work closely with the government of Qatar on these reforms,” said Houtan Homayounpour, the Head of the ILO Project Office for the State of Qatar. 

 

This new law specifies that employers may submit for approval to the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs the names of workers for whom a “no objection certificate” would still be required, with a justification based on the nature of their work. The number of these workers per company shall not exceed five per cent of their workforce. 

A Ministerial Decree will follow outlining rules and procedures allowing the exit of workers who fall outside the Labour Code.

“The adoption of this law is another step in our continued drive to provide decent work for all migrant workers in Qatar and to ensure their protection." said Dr. Issa Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. 

In April 2018, the ILO opened a Project Office in Qatar to support the implementation of a comprehensive programme on working conditions and labour rights in the country. The initiative reflects the common commitment of both the Government of Qatar and the ILO to cooperate on ensuring compliance with ratified international labour Conventions, as well as achieving fundamental principles and rights at work in the State of Qatar in a gradual manner during the period 2018 to 2020.

The document explaining the new law:

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