New Labour Law in Qatar

Most expats in Qatar, including myself, have been waiting for changes to be made on the sometimes abusive labor laws. And when it finally took effect in December of last year, many in the work force rejoiced.

Many employees expected that with the abolishment of the Kafala system, positive reform will finally take place in the labor market in Qatar. And that those regulations will be strictly implemented by the Ministry of Labour to oversee the issues that might occur between workers and employers.

With the new labor law, changing jobs in Qatar is much easier now. ©OTA Photos/Flickr

Changes Made on Qatar Labour Law

With the Kafala System abolished, The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs made sure of implementing the provision of law No. 21 of 2015 which was enforced on December 13, 2016.

And if you are not yet aware of the changes made on the labor laws, here are 20 of the most important changes made on the New Qatar Labor Law:

  1. The new law has already been executed December of last year.
  2. Contract-based employment for expats will be the new governing policy.
  3. The two-year ban that was adhered to before will not be applied on the new work visa.
  4. Approval from previous employer will no longer be needed after obtaining new employment.
  5. An employee who was able to obtain new employment can easily return to Qatar.
  6. With the taking effect of the new law, exit permit will no longer be required for travel.
  7. Employees must inform their employers three days before leaving the country, via Metrash2.
  8. All old employment contracts should have been replaced with new contracts as per requirements of the new law.

Secure a new job contract before applying for a change in employer. ©person seo/Flickr

  1. The date upon signing the new employment contract will be the start of his employment year.
  2. New employment contracts have to be approved by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
  3. Fixed-term contracts shall not exceed the five year standard period.
  4. Open-ended contracts can be terminated by the employee so long as he already served a minimum of five years with his employer.
  5. Approval from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is needed for an employee to change employment without NOC from previous employer at the end of his contract period.
  6. With the death of a sponsor or closing down of the company, an employee can transfer sponsorship with the approval of MOI and MOLSA.
  7. Recruiters or sponsors who will allow their foreign employees to work for another company or party without the approval from MOI and MOLSA will pay a fine of QR50,000 and jail term of up to three years.
  8. A fine of QR10,000 up to QR25,000 will be paid by the employers for keeping the passport of their employees.
  9. MADSLA now requires job contract before approving the working visa application, so employers are requested to give their prospective workers a copy of their contract for them to be aware of the terms and conditions of their employment even before they leave their country of origin.

With the new labor law in Qatar, expats have more freedom now to change jobs. ©Pixabay

  1. Employees will not be granted permit to return to Qatar before the end of his contract period if he terminates his job contract and left the country before completing the period of work stated on his contract.
  2. Employees can apply for exit permits themselves on agencies approved by the Ministry of Interior even without the permission of their employer. Requests can be approved within three working days.
  3. If a foreign worker gets fired from a job as a form of disciplinary action without appealing for his dismissal, or if the court rejected his pleas, then he shall not be allowed or granted passage to Qatar for four years.

As what Labor Minister, Issa al-Nuaimi said “The new law is the latest step towards improving and protecting the rights of every expatriate worker in Qatar.”

And while everyone, the workers and the employers, have different feelings towards these new policies, many have high hopes that this will provide a positive change on the labor force of Qatar and its image in the eyes of international media and the different organizations protecting employees’ rights.