[LEGAL COLUMN] On visas and sponsorships
If you are living and working in Qatar, you, like most others, have a lot of questions on the laws that govern you. JustHere receives dozens of labour-related queries from our readers every week. In this column, advocate Ghada M Darwish provides legal clarification on the oft-asked questions.
In the first installment of the series, we address issues regarding visas and sponsorship.
[Q] We bought a work visa from a company who sell them for QR10,000-15,000. The visa has expired, and the company is delaying the renewal. What can we do?*
[GD] According to Law No. 4 Of 2009 Regulating The Entry And Exit Of Expatriates In Qatar And Their Residence And Sponsorship, the sponsor shall complete the residency procedures and its renewal, provided that such renewal shall be done within 90 (ninety) days from the expiry date of the Visa. It is illegal for a worker to out stay his residence permit term. In the event of the failure of the sponsor to renew the residency without repatriation of the foreign worker, it is possible for the worker to apply for a transfer of sponsorship from the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on the basis of this delay. In order to secure a transfer of sponsorship from the MOI, a complaint should be lodged with the Human Rights Department at the MOI. The complaint must demonstrate that the employer/sponsor is indeed abusing his power.
[Q] What is the procedure to transfer visa from husband to company? Do I have to exit the country?
[GD] The procedure to transfer a sponsorship from husband to company is by obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the husband and completing the transfer of sponsorship form which must be signed by the husband and the company you wish to transfer your sponsorship to. Please note that the Ministry of Interior has absolute discretion to approve or disapprove the transfer request.
[Q] For how many days after expiry of permit am I allowed to stay in Qatar?
[GD] According to Article (9) of Law No. 4 of 2009, the residence permit must be renewed within 90 days from the date of its expiry.
[Q] Is the NOC policy different to those locally hired and those hired from other countries?
[GD] It is the same.
[Q] Can we change sponsorship after completing more than two years in a company/Qatar, though the current employer isn’t granting NOC?
[GD] The procedure to transfer a sponsorship requires obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the current sponsor. In the event of the failure of the sponsor to grant the NOC, it is possible for the worker to apply for a transfer of sponsorship from the Ministry of the Interior (MOI). However, please note that the Ministry of Interior has absolute discretion to approve or disapprove the transfer request.
[Q] I joined a new company upon obtaining an NOC from my previous employer. Can I get an NOC from him, if I want to shift again?
[GD] No, you need an NOC from your current sponsor. * Please note, buying and selling of visas is illegal as per Qatar law. Next column: Gratuity and leave eligibility Disclaimer: Neither the law firm of Advocate Ghada Darwish nor JustHere is responsible for actions taken on information mentioned here. All efforts have been taken to provide accurate response to the queries.