Doha: Long-awaited changes to Qatar’s ‘kafala’ labour law for foreign workers will come into force in December next year, media reports said on Friday.The law reforming rules that oversee exit visas and work contracts in the Gulf state was published in Qatar’s official gazette.The Arabic-language Al Sharq reported that the changes will take effect on December 14 next year, 14 months after first being approved.This is the first time a definitive date has been given for the new laws to come into force.The reforms will allow foreign workers wishing to leave Qatar to apply for permission up to 72 hours in advance to the interior ministry.
If such permission is initially denied, employees seeking to leave can then complain to a grievance committee established under the new law.Currently, workers need an exit visa approved by their sponsor to be able to leave the country.The changes also allow foreign workers to switch jobs at the end of a fixed-term contract.Under the current system, workers who leave a job at the end of a contract have to wait two years to return to Qatar to take up a new position, if their old employer objects to the new job.The reforms were announced following a high-profile international campaign by critics over labour laws in the country which will host football’s World Cup in 2022.Qatar has faced fierce criticism from rights groups for its slow pace of reform.The system applies to around two million foreigners who make up about 90 per cent of the population.The number of foreign workers, many of them labourers on major infrastructure projects directly or indirectly related to the World Cup, is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2020.
Expats employed in qatar will be governed completely by contracts after the implementation of the new law. The two year ban wpould be removed so now an employee can come back to Qatar next day on a new work visa. Approvals from previous employer is not needed if he is recruited by a new employer. For leaving the country expit permits wont be required once the new law is into existence. All companies are advised to create contracts for the existing employees. An expat employee can move from one sponsor to anotehr with the written permission from MOI if sponsor is no alive or company is dispersed. A fine of QR 10K to 25K will be imposed if any one found keeping passports or other documents of expatriate employee.