Many workers change jobs under new law: Qatar

As many as 5,196 workers successfully changed jobs after completing their employment contract or working five years of an open-ended contract, benefiting from the new law (No. 21 of 2015) regulating entry, exit and residency of expatriates which came into force on December 13 last year.

This shows a significant increase from 2,288 job transfers recorded last year before the law was implemented, according to data released by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs yesterday.

The Ministry earlier clarified that a worker seeking a job change must submit a request to the ministry 30 days before the contract comes to an end, if it is a fixed–term contract. In case of an open-ended contract, the worker should stay not less than five years in service and the notice period would be 30 days if the duration of service is five years, and 60 days, if the duration of service is more than five years.

The ministry data shows that 184,338 exit permits were issued for expatriates in the first two months since implementation of the new law. The Exit Permit Grievances Committee – the body established to settle exit disputes– received 761 complaints during the same period.

Taking action on the grievances, exit permits were granted within 72 hours in 485 cases, 63 are currently under consideration and in 213 cases workers received an SMS indicating the reason their application was rejected.

Statistics from December 13 last year to February 15 this year also show that 109,804 expatriates left Qatar for annual leave or other reasons.

During the same period, 74,049 expats permanently departed Qatar after notifying their employer, according to the terms of their contract.

Speaking about the statistics, the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi said: “The number of exit permits issued in the first two months demonstrates that the law is being effectively enforced.

Over 184,000 expats benefited in this period, which shows that we are delivering on our promises. We have repeatedly expressed our unwavering commitment to labour reform and will continue to develop new policies that generate positive, tangible outcomes for expatriates.”

The Minister also spoke about the measures being taken to prevent exploitation of workers in labour-exporting countries.

“Our worker welfare programme has so far focused on safeguarding the rights and freedoms of workers and improving their working and living conditions. But we are also taking a wider view of the migration cycle and addressing the issues at the source. We continue to cooperate with countries of origin, and have so far signed 36 bilateral agreements,” said the Minister.