MOI to issue new sponsorship law soon; no official date announced
- JustHere Qatar
- On May 5, 2014
Amendments to the existing sponsorship law would be made soon, the Ministry of Interior has announced. Companies in Qatar are yet waiting for an official date though.
Brigadier Nasser Mohamed al-Sayed, director of the Investigations and Follow-Up Department has said that there will be “updates and changes to the provisions and articles of the law so that it met the aspirations of citizens and residents”, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported. There was no indication if the kafala system and exit permit would be cancelled or not.
The companies that JustHere contacted have not received any official circular stating when the new law would be implemented. Some have speculated that the changes would be effective from 1 June. “The new law is also said to include conditions to protect the rights of the sponsor,” said an HR officer at an advertising firm.
“There has been talks about making the labour laws similar to UAE,” said another HR officer of a telecom company.
Here’s a comparison of the sponsorship system in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE that we carried in one of our earlier posts.
|Country||Sponsorship Law||Exit Permit|
|Bahrain||In 2009, Bahrain adopted the strongest sponsorship reforms in the region by permitting migrant workers to change employment without their employers’ consent and in the absence of allegations of nonpayment of wages or abuse. 2009’s legal reforms allowed migrant workers to change employment after meeting certain notice requirements and provided a 30-day grace period to remain legally in the country while they seek new employment. However, these positive changes do not apply to domestic workers.||Not Required|
|Qatar||Expatriates are allowed to work only under sponsorship. Once sponsored, the employee can not work for another employer unless a special permission has been granted.
Sponsorship can be transferred to another employer only after agreement from the existing and new employers. The right to change sponsors is not mandated by law and is left to the discretion of sponsors.
If the employee has not been granted a release letter or No Objection Certificate (NOC), he would be required to leave the country for a minimum of two years before returning to work for another employer.
|UAE||UAE Laws require foreign nationals to be primarily sponsored by a UAE national (citizen), except in the case of domestic workers, where foreign nationals can be sponsors too. Businesses are able to sponsor their employees mainly because a UAE national is a partner, owner or a majority shareholder of the business-sponsor (this might differ in the free zones).
As a general rule, a labour ban is still imposed on all expatriate employees in the UAE who are working in the private sector when they want to change from one employer to another if they left the current employer without having completed a minimum of two years service. The ban could be for six months or a year.
But the ban can be lifted if the new employer offers the candidate a higher position and a salary equal or above the salary set by the ministry against his or her qualifications.
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship system, requires all migrant workers to have a Saudi citizen as their sponsor who is usually the employer. The sponsor is responsible for their visa and legal status.
In April 2012, Labour Ministry had proposed abolishing the kafala system by transferring immigration sponsorship to newly created recruitment and placement agencies, but later retracted its decision.
|Kuwait||Under Article 3 of Kuwait’s Private Sector Labour Law, an expatriate worker must obtain a work permit issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, under the sponsorship of a Kuwaiti entity. The law also states that a release is required from the sponsor for the work permit of an employee to be transferred to the sponsorship of another Kuwaiti entity.
According to recent reports, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour has established the Public Authority for Labour Affairs in a bid to abolish the sponsorship system for private sector labour force. The authority would be directly responsible for all matters concerning private sector employees, including recruitment of expatriate labour forces and managing employer-employee relationship.
|Oman||Under the Kafala system, migrant workers are not allowed to change employers without their sponsors’ consent. Otherwise the worker is considered as an illegal resident in the country according to a law issued in 2003.
If the worker’s service period was less than two years in Oman, there must be a release letter from the former sponsor indicating that he (the sponsor) has no objection to the employment of that worker by any other employer without being subject to the two-year restriction.
For a migrant worker to change his sponsorship to a new sponsor (employer) while still inside the country, there must be a release letter from the former sponsor and approved by the Directorate General of Labour.
Qatar’s strict kafala system has received a lot of backlash from international media and human rights watchdogs, especially since it won the rights to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The worst affected is the low-income workers, who are trapped in the country because of the law. As per the sponsorship system, employees cannot change jobs or leave the country even, without the consent of the sponsor.
With the new sponsorship law, authorities hope to better the working conditions of expatriates and citizens in Qatar. In yet another step, the Government launched a new ‘Wage Protection System’ that makes it mandatory for companies to pay workers their salaries through bank transfers. Through this scheme, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs would be able to monitor salary payments electronically, and thus avoid any cases of non-payment or delay in payment of wages.
Share your experiences on how the kafala system has affected your personal and work life here in Qatar.
- Kafala will be abolished… ultimately; But Qatar’s big announcement on labour laws is still pending cabinet approval
- Qatar Cost of Living: The JustHere Survival Matrix
- [UPDATED PHOTOS] Happy National Day Qatar!
- Damien Hirst is coming to town, and here are 10 things you should know about him
- First 7000 newborn babies in Qatar during Ramadan will receive baby car seats
- Cleansing of Doha: The Old Downtown Disappears
- Weekend Radar (July 4-6)
- ‘Whoa’ moment as Qatar’s overall population grows by 11.26%; 13.34% rise in that of females
- Weekend Radar (June 20 – 22)
- Souq Haraj awaits its inevitable fate in light of 2022
- Weekend Radar (June 6-8)
- Tickets for the June 13 Disney On Ice show up for grabs
- State mandates employers to medically insure employees under new law
- Runaways and Absconders; Slavery and Kafala: A dig into history
- Weekend Radar (May 30 – June 1)
- Atop the Everest: A mental feat more than a physical one
- Where do We Learn Arabic?
- All in a Day’s Work
- Weekend Radar (May 23-25)
- Not enough PHCs in Qatar to meet growing population
- Tipping point… who deserves gratuity?
- Blood donation in Qatar continues to be a challenge
- The coronavirus scare in GCC: What you need to know
- Ooredoo and Messi launch initiative for children’s health
- Been in Qatar long enough to remember these?
- Let’s Meet: Jeet Bahadur Mogar
- Onaiza Park: A splash of colours
- Ta2heel: By the youth for the youth… a uniquely Qatar initiative
- What you need to know about Emir Cup 2013
- Weekend Radar (May 16-18)
- QAWS receives a one month reprieve
- Hike or no hike in school fees?
- No lessons learned after Villaggio. The smoke continues well after the fire.
- Al Dhakhira gets first model commercial complex
- What every pedestrian in Qatar must know.
- Fatima Al-Nesf: Living her life in cartoons
- Inaccessible Qatar… where do we begin?
- Ready for some punchlines?
- A year more for neighbourhood stores
- UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi lead the race for regional tourism revenue growth
- Weekend Radar (May 9 – 11)
- Al Salihiya Juice Stall: Honk, and ye shall be served!
- How free is the free visa?
- Disney on Ice tickets now on sale
- In Qatar, traffic is a bigger killer than cancer
- 6˚ of Separation: The child in us
- Why QAWS’s success will be the community’s as well
- Payment woes for freelancers in Qatar
- DCMF event receives thumbs down
- Weekend Radar (May 02-04)
- DFI and Tribeca’s partnership comes to a close
- Second phase of Kulluna campaign promotes cardiac health
- Student filmmakers left in the lurch at Al Jazeera Docu Fest
- Traffic surveillance cameras to keep check on violators
- An Artistic Hypocrisy?
- More female nationals in the workforce than in other GCC states
- There’s smoke, there’s fire, and no one knows how
- Weekend Radar (April 25-27)
- QF attempts to change workers’ plight in Qatar
- Where to find a good book in Qatar
- The Greatest Gift
- It’s Earth Day today. Are you doing your bit?
- QMA launches free Mathaf Shuttle Bus service. Hop on.
- Where you from?
- Winners announced for the DCMF cartoon competition
- The mad gold rush
- The Park that’s more than just that
- Shisha Vs Cigarette: Which kills more?
- Qatar 2022 in the firing line again
- The Katara Dilemma: What do we do about misbehaviour?
- How to stay safe during an earthquake
- Weekend Radar (April 18-20)
- Qatar rocks, literally, as earthquake hits Iran-Pakistan border
- Qatar’s not a cheap place to live in
- Qatar should ensure a reliable legal framework for contractors: Merkel
- How much do your schooling expenses come to?
- Ezdan Mall partially opens in Doha
- More sports tournaments for migrant workers
- Qatar’s fuming: Cigs, shisha & the havoc that it wrecks
- Yet another case of intellectual property rights violation in Qatar
- 10 Quick Escapes for the Parent
- Qatarisation is imperative, but nationals shy away
- Enjoy the best deals in Qatar
- DFI to hold 48 hour documentary challenge
- Let’s Meet: Moidunny Karupp Theruvath
- Weekend Radar (April 11-13)
- 10 ways to make learning fun
- The divisiveness of your toxicity
- Parking, parking everywhere, who wants to use it?
- A Qatar Obsession: Adventurous & Deadly… Here’s to a safer ATV ride
- Qatar Biobank reaches 200th participant
- You won’t get lost finding this one!
- Sailing through luxury
- Count the paper you use
- Weekend Radar (April 4-6)
- Magical mystery tour of Qatar
- Jobs, and more jobs
- Rachel Gadsden: A vision beyond sight
- Don’t be shocked
- Indecent behaviour outside EC. Stay alert!
- Here’s a reader’s verdict on Qatari newspapers
- Weekend Radar (March 28-30)
- Why does journalism in Qatar look more like PR?
- Tuitions step in where schools fail
- Uniquely Qatar… See Queue, Will Jump
- 60 minutes of darkness
- Who’s up for the Workers Cup?
- Let our Children Be
- Qatar is the region’s second best travel and tourism hub, after UAE
- 10 Best Souvenirs From Qatar
- Are we saying goodbye to our local grocery stores?
- Exhibition Review: Hey’ya – Arab Women in Sport
- Hunger Games in Doha
- Privilege Vs Creativity
- Working from home… and home is a Doha café with free wi-fi
- School admissions in Qatar: Tough Lessons To Learn
- Exotic. Illegal. Blatant.
- What She Wears: The Dress Code Debate
- Aesthetics Trumps Conservation?
- Dubai Parks and Resorts to open region’s largest entertainment destination, including first-ever Bollywood theme park, this October