GENEVA – Geneva Council for Human Rights and Justice (GCHRJ) acclaimed the development of Qatar’s laws in dealing with migrants, including workers, and their residence.
GCHRJ, which is an international human rights organization, welcomed the issuance by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, of a law to regulate the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, stressing that this would enhance the working environment in the country that seeks economic openness and attracting investment
The Council noted that the new law allowed the expatriate workers to leave Qatar to take a vacation, in the event of an emergency or for any other purpose, after notifying the applicant, based on the contract of employment.
The law also allows expatriate workers to leave before the end of the contract after notifying the applicant based on the contract of employment. If the applicant or the competent authority objects to the departure of the expatriate, the worker shall have the right to appeal to a grievance committee which shall decide the complaint within three working days.
Qatar abolished the sponsorship law in 2015, and the relationship between the expatriate worker and the employer became contractual. Amendments to the law regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence have also been introduced.
Expatriate workers will be able to leave under the amendments of the law, except the person who has been admitted to work is wanted for justice for suspected criminal activity or because of unpaid debts or obligations of a worker in the State of Qatar.
The expatriate workers will not need the permission of their current employer to change their employment if they have completed the fixed-term contract. Workers who work on indefinite employment contracts will also be able to change their work without the permission of their employer, provided that five years have passed In their work with the employer.
All expatriate employees who desire to work in Qatar will be able to access their employment contracts before leaving their home country. The issuance of a work visa is conditional on the existence of an employment contract approved by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
Employers who hold their employees’ passports will be fined up to QR25,000 for every worker whose passport has been held. When this penalty is applied, this will become the largest financial sanction applied against the detention of passports in the country.
Article 8 of the law specifies the conditions granting the residency, that every expatriate seeks to stay in the country for any purpose must obtain a license from the competent authority and the applicant is obligated to carry out the licensing procedures and renew it within a period not exceeding 90 days from the date of its expiration. The employer must provide the worker with his passport or travel document after the completion of the licensing procedures or renewal.
The law specifies the conditions for the withdrawal of residence in the event of incorrect information or documents, a threat to the security and safety of the state at home and abroad, the existence of a violation or absence of the purpose for which the residence permit was granted. The law also specifies the need to protect the rights of workers and respecting their family and humanitarian aspects
Geneva Council for Human Rights and Justice (GCHRJ) stressed the importance of Qatar’s laws its way in dealing with expatriates and called on the rest of Gulf countries to follow the example of Doha in abolishing the sponsorship system and improving the way of treating with migrant workers.