What you need to know about working in Qatar without company sponsorship
Qatar’s growth is attracting thousands of professionals to its shores; While they come sponsored by their employers, there is an auxiliary pool of professionals who come along with them – the spouses and adult children, who relocate for familial reasons, but have credible professional qualifications that suits the opportunities in the market.
As per Qatari law, they are allowed to work, but it’s mandatory to be registered under the labour department.
Employers are required to legalise the employment of its employees even if they do not sponsor them directly. There are differences in the way this is treated for male and female employees.
Female employees who are sponsored by their father or husband only require a work permit.
However, male employees are required by law to transfer their sponsorship to the employer. Female employees may choose to transfer to the employer’s sponsorship, if both parties are in agreement.
The work permit is an essential part of being employed in Qatar. If you have been in your current job for more than three months, then you should probably have a card or must at least be in the process of obtaining one. This card, issued by the Ministry of Labour is the Qatar government’s way of documenting your status as a full-time or part-time employee of an organisation in Qatar.
It is the employer’s responsibility to apply and bear the expenses (QR500 per annum, per permit) of acquiring a work permit for its employees. To compile an application package, employers usually require the following materials from the employee based on the designation of the employee:
- A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the sponsor (parent/husband/wife) with a copy of his or her Qatar ID
- A translated copy of his or her educational certificate/diploma attested by their respective Embassy and the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Police clearance certificate attested by their respective embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- A copy of his or her passport
- Copy of Qatar ID
- Copy of the Residence Permit (available in the passport)
- Employment Contract
The work permit usually takes 15 working days to be processed by the Ministry of Labour. For the transfer of sponsorship process, it is a 10-day process once all documents are submitted.
The Ministry of Labour usually performs surprise inspections on organizations. There is a penalty of QR10,000 if an employee is found to be working without a permit. While this is the responsibility of the employer, in the event the employee has not co-operated in fulfilling the process, she would be held liable too.
Several of the allowances afforded to sponsored employees are not by law mandatory for those on family sponsorship. This includes annual flight tickets and HRA. However, end of service benefits do not differ.
But many companies do not differentiate between sponsored and non-sponsored full-time employees when it comes to allowances.
Many organisations, particularly those in the publishing, service and creative sectors, hire freelance or part-time staff.
A freelancing agreement is signed between two parties – the employer and the freelancing employee. For this, the freelancer is required to submit an NOC from his sponsor. If he is employed in a full-time or part-time job currently, then he is required to provide an NOC from this employer too.
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We address various aspects of Working in Qatar in this series, including finance, laws, HR development. Write to us if there is a particular subject you are interested in and would like to read about.