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Expats can change jobs after serving double the contract term: Draft law

Posted: 07.07.2015

Qatar Tribune today reported Expats can change jobs after serving double the contract term: Draft law


An expatriate will be allowed to transfer his/her sponsorship after spending a period that is twice the employment duration mentioned in the contract with the current employer, or after a 10-year period in case of open contracts with the approval of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), according to latest amendments and recommendations of the Advisory Council's Internal and External Affairs Committee (IEAC) regarding entry, exit and stay of expatriates.

The committee, however, suggested that if the employee's nature of job grants him or her direct access to the employer's client base and/or sensitive information that could affect the employer's competitiveness in the market, the employer can oblige the employee not to transfer employment to a direct competitor or establish their own business that directly competes with the current employer.

Moreover, expats or their hosts (previously labelled as sponsors) must inform authorities concerned about the expat's desire to exit the country at least three days prior to the intended departure. The expat also has to inform their hosts about their departure before the application is presented to authorities.

However, in case of emergencies (such as the death of a first-degree relative), a grievance committee can approve the expat's request for emergency departure upon receiving the application, without referring back to the host.

The IEAC's complementary report on the draft law was discussed during the Advisory Council's weekly regular meeting of its 43rd session on Monday under Council's Speaker HE Mohamed bin Mubarak al Khulaifi. Earlier, four meetings were held between June 24 and July 2 to take feedback from MoLSA, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the Qatar Chamber.

In addition to discussing the committee's amendments to Article No. 21 regarding the transfer of employment, which does not apply to domestic workers, the Council deliberated about the IEAC's amendments to Article No. 7 of the draft law.

Article No. 7 states that in case of the host's objection to the exit permit application, the expat or the host (according to the circumstance) must approach the grievance committee. 

Otherwise, the expat is granted an exit permit once the host's approval is submitted to the authorities concerned, or after a maximum of three days of the application for the permit as long as there is no objection from the host.

According to the draft law, the host has no right to keep the expat's passport after completition of the residence permit procedures or other paperworks requiring passport. The host must also inform the authorities within 14 days of the expat's leaving his or her job or the end or termination of the employment contract (according to Article 19). 

By Moody Talat (Qatar Tribune)

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