What Expats Need to Follow to Keep their Jobs in Qatar and Avoid Being Deported
Expatriates who successfully landed jobs in Qatar still face many challenges including the possibility of getting dismissed or terminated from work. Worse yet, they may get banned, blacklisted, or deported from the country if they violated any of the government laws.
• If you do not obtain a residence permit.
• If your residence permit has expired or has been canceled for any reason.
Note: If the purpose for which your license has expired, you have to leave the country within ninety days (90) from the date of expiry of the license, cancellation, or expiry of the purpose.
Qatar is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend or affect anyone.
There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in your country but is in Qatar – for example indecent dress code. You’re strongly advised to familiarize yourself with and respect local laws and customs.
You don't need to panic though. Qatar is, in many ways, quite a tolerant country. However, there are a few things that you should be careful about while in Qatar.
According to the Qatar deportation policies stipulated in the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar (NHRC) Workers’ Rights Booklet, here are the rules that expats must avoid doing to stay employed and avoid being deported back to their home countries:
1. Drink Driving
There is zero tolerance for drink driving in Qatar. Most especially, if a death was involved in a drink driving accident, the penalty would be far worse than deportation.
Getting drunk in a public place and making a nuisance for others is illegal in Qatar. It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public.
Alcohol is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.
Don’t carry alcohol around with you (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and establishments serving alcohol will ask for original photo ID upon entry.
Many expats have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behavior.
The majority of people who have been arrested for drinking have been those causing problems: fighting and generally being a nuisance.
3. Drug Abuse
Qatar does not tolerate any drug-related offences. The penalties for the use of, trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe. Punishment can include lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines and deportation.
4. Relationships Outside of Marriage
In Qatar, it is unacceptable to live together outside marriage. This is a strict Wahhabi country and many people have been arrested, imprisoned, and deported for sex outside marriage.
Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest. Living together whilst unmarried is prohibited in Qatar, and sex outside of marriage, regardless of whether this is same sex couples or opposite sex couples, is illegal. This can lead to arrest and a potential court case where the judgement can include a fine, a custodial sentence and deportation once the sentence is complete. This is especially so where the behavior has caused offence.
Homosexual behavior is also illegal in Qatar.
5. Offending Islam
Under Law No. 11 of 2004 Issuing the Penal Code, Article 256,
“Whoever commits the following acts shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years:
1- Insulting Allah through writing, drawing, gesturing, in any other way, or through any other means.
2- Offending, misinterpreting or violating the Holy Quran.
3- Offending the Islamic religion or any of its rites and dictates.
4- Cursing any of the divine religions according to the regulations of Islamic law.
5- Insulting any of the prophets through writing, drawing, gesturing or in any other way or through any other means.
6- Sabotaging, breaking, damaging or violating sites or their contents if they are made to perform religious rites for one of the divine religions according to the regulations of Islamic law.”
And in the same regard, Article 263 which states,
“Whoever produces, sells, exposes for sale or circulation, or possesses products, merchandise, prints or tapes, including drawings, slogans, words, symbols, signals or anything else that may offend the Islamic religion or other divine religions according to the dictates of Islamic law, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding 1,000 QAR.
6. Libel and Slander
Qataris value their privacy and honor – so watch what you say about who you say when you are chatting away on online forums here, or you might just find yourself on a one-way plane trip back home.
7. Offensive Behavior
Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.
Be aware of cultural sensitivities when filming or photographing people and religious, military or construction sites. Some visitors attempting to film or photograph in sensitive areas have been arrested. If in doubt, seek permission.
There are strict privacy laws in Qatar. Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appear to insult, slander or are culturally insensitive, may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law. Individuals have been detained, prosecuted and/or convicted for posting this type of material.
9. Importation of Goods
Importing drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar is considered “haram” or illegal. Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale, and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids, and other similar products (e.g. electronic shisha pipes).
10. Financial crimes
Financial crimes, including fraud, bouncing cheques (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and non-payment of bills (for example hotel bills or car hire) can result in imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation in Qatar. Bank accounts and other assets may also be frozen. You may also be liable for cheques that you have signed on behalf of a company.
Without the prejudice to the right of the competent administrative authorities in the deportation of any alien, in accordance with the law, the court can, if the alien is sentenced to prison for a period in case of felony or misdemeanor, order to deport him from the state after the completion of execution of the sentence.
If the sentence with the manner set forth in the preceding paragraph, issued in a crime involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, the court must sentence to deport the foreigner from the State after the completion of execution of the sentence or its decline.
Everyone who indecently assaulted a person without his consent, either under duress or threat or deception shall be punished by an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years.
Everyone who made or imported or released or possesses or transported for the purposes of exploitation or distribution or display a book or publication or other writings or cartoons or pictures or films or symbols or other things against the modesty or morals shall be punished by an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year and a fine not exceeding 5,000 QAR or either of them.
Everyone who threatened others to harm him or his reputation or his property or a person or reputation or money of a person whom he is concerned, whether the threat is in writing or orally or through the acts that suggest the intention to attack the person or reputation or money, intending thereby to encourage the victim to take the action or abstain shall be punished by an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years and a fine of not more than 10,000 riyals or either of these 2.
The punishment shall be an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, if the accused threatened to kill.
Everyone who circumvents managed to access the system that processes the data stored in a computer or adjusted its inside or in any part of it, without any right shall be punished by an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years and a fine of not more than 10,000 QAR or either of them.
Everyone who entered deliberately, either directly or indirectly, data in the automated processing system of a person or any party or destroyed or modified the data contained in it or the way of its processing and transportation shall be punished by an imprisonment for not less than one year and not exceeding 3 years and a fine of not less than 10,000 QAR and not exceeding 50,000 QAR.
The recruiter is obliged to bear the expenses of your deportation to your country (the price of the ticket), upon the expiry of your residence permit or cancellation or the issuance of a deportation order.
• If it is proven that you were working for another party in violation of the law, that party will bear the expenses of your deportation.
• In the event that it is not possible to know this party, you (the worker) shall bear these expenses.
• If you do not have funds within the country and are unable to pay them, the recruiter will bear these expenses.
• The Ministry may, if the recruiter is a public servant and has breached his/her obligations towards the worker, shall collect the expenses of deportation from the salaries and entitlements of the recruiter, in coordination with his employer.
• The recruiter shall be responsible for the expenses of burying the body of the deceased expatriate in the assigned burial grounds in the State, whatever cause of death.
• In the event that one of the heirs of the deceased or any other institution requests the repatriation of the body outside the State, the recruiter shall bear these costs to the country of origin or the permanent place of residence of the deceased expatriate.
• After a court or deportation order has been issued for your deportation, you may only return by decision of the Minister of Interior.
Planning to return to Qatar for work? You need the professional service of a recruitment company in Doha to easily transfer to a new employer and start your job.
• The Minister or his deputy may give you time to liquidate your interests in the country, within a period not exceeding ninety days renewable for a period or other similar periods, provided that you provide an acceptable guarantee.
• The Minister may, if necessary and following the issuance of a judicial ruling on your deportation or deportation order, place you in the venue designated for deportation in the State “deportation detention” for a period of thirty days renewable for a similar period.
• He may also impose on you a stay in a certain place for up to two weeks renewable.
If you have previously been in Qatar for the purpose of work, you may return to work again if you have the necessary conditions for entry, in accordance with the provisions of the law and its executory regulations.
If you have been dismissed from work under the provisions of Article 61 of the Labor Law or any other law, and the decision has not been challenged before the competent court, or challenged but rejected, you may not return to work until four (4) years have passed since you left Qatar.
Did you know that you can change jobs in Doha even if your RP has expired? Yes, you can. Read this article, for your guide: Can You Change Jobs in Qatar Even If Your RP Has Expired?
• The Minister of Interior may issue an order to deport you if it is proved that your presence in the State threatens the security or safety at home or abroad or harms the national economy or public health or morals.
• Following a judicial ruling or order to deport you from the country, the Minister of Interior may, when necessary, instruct to detain you for a period of 30 days renewable for a similar period.
• Following a judicial ruling on your deportation or deportation order, which cannot be executed, the Minister may impose upon you a stay in a certain place for a period of two weeks, renewable. This is instead of detention for a period or other similar periods
As an expatriate who is working in Qatar, you need to adhere to the above rules to avoid violations and even cancellation of your work or Resident Permit (RP) and even travel restrictions.
To keep your job and get rid of penalties and dismissal, be aware of Qatar Law at all times and play your part as a responsible resident in the country.
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