DOHA: Changes in the exit permit system proposed by the new sponsorship law are clear and simple and no need for people to fear about it, says a senior official of the Ministry of Interior.

Brigadier Nasser Mohammed Al Sayed, Director of the Search and Follow-Up Department at the Ministry, said that the new sponsorship law has been completed fully and is in the final stage for issuance.

“Work on the new sponsorship law started long ago. Qatar took up this issue many years ago, because there is an international system existing in most parts of the world. We need to cope with this development. The idea was under study even before Qatar won the FIFA 2022 World Cup bid. The law is completed fully and is in the final stage for issuance,” Brigadier Al Sayed said in an interview with Al Watan Arabic daily.

He said the new law has taken into account the interests of the employees and the employers. 

Regarding exit permits, the official said the new law has laid down a clear mechanism.  “People need not have to fear about this. It is simple, to be done according to rules and standards to maintain a balance between the interests of both sides (employees and employers),” he said.

He said that in most cases there is stable working relations between the two sides, although there are problems in few cases. “And to address this, the law has set a clear mechanism,” he added, without elaborating.

The official disclosed plans to open branches of the Search and Follow Up Department in Al Zubara, Al Sheehania, Al Wakrah and central Doha to provide easier access to the public.

He said continuous inspections and stricter punishments have reduced violations of the residency and sponsorship law. However, the massive inspection campaigns across Doha has prompted some run away workers to escape to areas outside the city and work in farms thinking that they are safer.

Some winter camps set up outside the city are employing such workers. By doing so the camp owners are inviting problems for themselves. If these workers commit some crimes like stealing, they (the owners) will not be able to lodge complaints against them because they are employed illegally, said Al Sayed.

He encouraged people falling victims to visa trade to lodge complaints with the Department.

“We will investigate into the complaints and if we find that there is abuse we allow the victims to change  sponsorship without consulting the employers (original sponsors). Workers who lodge complaints against their employers will not be detained,” said Al Sayed.

He said during 2013, the Department in collaboration with the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior transferred sponsorship of 1,642 people who fell victims to visa trade. During 2014,  24 court verdicts were issued against companies involved in visa trade imposing fines worth QR50,000 on each of them.

Another 28 verdicts were issued against individuals sentencing them to six months to three years in jail besides 30 verdicts imposing fines ranging from QR10,000 to QR50,000.

During 2014 the Department received 114 complaints related to visa trade. Of these 51 were referred to the Public Prosecution and court verdicts were issued in 43 cases.  All involved in visa trade were expatriates cheating people from their own nationality.