How to Change Job in Qatar Without NOC (2020)

How to Change Job in Qatar Without NOC

Stuck in a job that isn’t you? Ready for a career change, but have no idea what else you could do – or where to start? Here is some good news for you.

Law No 21 of 2015 that deals with the entry, exit, and residency of expatriates, has abolished Qatar’s existing Kafala (sponsorship) system, replacing it with a modernised, contract-based system.

After Qatar’s new sponsorship law came into force on 13 December 2016, the automatic two-year ban has been removed and foreign workers have new options to change job in Qatar.

This article explains current legal options available to expatriate workers planning to change job in Qatar with or without employer’s No Objection Certificate (NOC).

UPDATE ON 5 SEPTEMBER 2020: Qatar Government has announced that soon NOC would not be required for changing jobs, subject to certain conditions. However, the new rule will be only applicable after publishing in the official gazette. Below you can find both newly announced law as well as current law. We shall update when the new law is applicable.

How To Change Job in Qatar Under Newly Announced Law

On 5 September 2020 Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour, and Social Affairs (ADLSA) has listed down the steps to change employers without having to first obtain a NOC. 

The steps to change jobs will include: 

1. The worker should notify employers through the electronic notification system of the ADLSA. A notice period of one month is needed, if the employee has been in the job for two years or less and if more, then two-month notice should be given.

2. While expressing the intention to change jobs through the electronic notification system, the following documents should be enclosed: 

  • a. ADLSA change-of-employer form
  • b. Copy of contract signed with the former employer, authenticated by ADLSA or employment offer in absence of contract copy. 
  • c. The new employer’s job offer in Arabic. 

3. The worker and new employer should receive an SMS from ADLSA confirming the change of employment. 

4. The new employer should initiate the electronic employment contract on ADLSA’s Digital Authentication System.

5. The new employer should print out the employment contract and discuss and sign it with the worker.

6. The newly signed employment contract should be uploaded on the ADLSA system with the authentication fee of QR 60.

7. When the contract is authenticated, the new employer should submit a request for a new QID to the Ministry of Interior. 

Upon the completion of this procedure, the worker will be able to start the new job. The worker should receive his/her new Qatari ID card (QID) and health card from the new employer. 

The ministry also adds that in case an employee wishes to change jobs during the probation period, then the current employer has to be given a notice of at least one month.

The new employer has to compensate the current employer a portion of recruitment fees and one-way air ticket at the level agreed to by the current and new employers, not exceeding two months of the employee’s current basic wage.

How To Change Job in Qatar Under Current Law

As per the current law, an employee can change the job with the approval of the government, either after the expiry of his contract or after five years of service with the employer if the contract is indefinite.

In case of cancellation of residency permit, the person will be able to return to Qatar to take up employment immediately after being granted a new visa.

If an expatriate has completed either the period of a fixed-contract or five years under an open contract, there is no requirement for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from his previous employer. If he gets a new contract to work in Qatar he can come back even the next day.

This can be explained in detailed as below:

Case 1: Completed Fixed-Term Contract Period

An expatriate who has completed the full length of a fixed-term contract (for example 1, 2, 3 or 4 years as per contract) will no longer need approval (NOC) from his existing employer to change jobs.

He will only need approval from Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs (MADLSA).

The expatriate has to provide a written notice to his employer prior to changing job. Normally the notice period is 30 days. However, the  notice duration will depend on the terms and conditions in the contract.

Case 2: Not Completed Fixed-Term Contract Period

An expatriate who has not completed the full length of a fixed-term contract cannot freely switch jobs.

  • He will need to seek permission from his existing employer.
  • If the employer does not give NOC, the expatriate will have to stay out of Qatar until the contract period expires.

For example, If your contract is for 3 years and you have completed only 2 years, you will have to stay out of Qatar for 1 more year. After completion of the contract period, you can come back and join another company (with approval from MADLSA).

However, in cases where the expatriate can demonstrate he has been exploited or mistreated by this employer, the law gives him the right to demand to transfer employment.

Case 3: Completed 5 years Service Under Open-Ended Contract

An expatriate who has completed 5 years under open-term (indefinite) contract will no longer need approval (NOC) from the existing employer to change jobs. He will only need approval from MADLSA.

The expatriate has to provide a written notice to their employer prior to changing job. The  notice duration will depend on the terms and conditions in the contract.

By default, if the duration of service is more than five years, the notice period is 60 days. If the duration of service is five years, the notice period is 30 days.

Case 4: Not Completed 5 years Service Under Open-Ended Contract

An expatriate who has not completed 5 years under open-ended (indefinite) contract cannot immediately switch jobs.

  • He will need to seek permission from his existing employer.
  • If the employer does not give NOC, the expatriate will have to stay out of Qatar until 5 year period expires.

For example, If your contract is open and you have completed only 2 years, you need to stay out of Qatar for 3 more years. After completion of the period, you can come back and join another company (with approval from MADLSA).

However, in cases where the expatriate can demonstrate he has been exploited or mistreated by this employer, the law gives him the right to demand to transfer employment.

Change Job in Qatar

Other Conditions for Changing Job

  • The new employer should have an approval of the same nationality, gender and profession. For example, a “Indian male accountant” who wants to leave his current employer and join another firm can be hired only by a company that has the approval for employing a “Indian male accountant”.
  • There should be no restrictions against the new employer that would stop the change.
  • The employee’s age should not be above 60 years.

Other Features of the New Law

  • All prospective expatriate workers will be able to see a copy of their job contract, prior to leaving their country of origin, as obtaining a work visa will now require a job contract approved by MADSLA.
  • Expatriates who leave Qatar and have had their employment and Residency Permit terminated, will be able to return to Qatar to take up new employment immediately after being granted a new visa.
  • However, this will not be the case for workers who have been found guilty of misconduct whilst working for their previous employer in Qatar. Such workers will face 4 years ban.
  • Employers found to have confiscated passports can be fined up to QR 25,000 per worker. When enacted, this will be the toughest financial penalty against passport confiscation within the region.

Time Period for Change of Job

If the expatriate has completed the required contract period and has a new job contract and visa, he can immediately come back (even on next day).

If there is no job contract, the expatriate has to leave Qatar within a  week of cancelling the residence permit.

In special cases like termination by employer, MADLSA may allow expats up to three months to find a new job.

When the expatriate has found a new job, he will be required to return to the Ministry and present the new employment contract. Expatriates who do not find work within this period must leave Qatar.

Important Points to Note

  • The new law does not require existing employees to sign new contracts.
  • The options to change jobs depend on two factors: (1) The type of contract (Fixed-term or Open-ended) and (2) Service period so far.
  • Under the new law, service periods are calculated from the day that the employee started working for their employer.
  • This includes all days of employment accumulated prior to the implementation of Law No 21 of 2015.

FAQ on Changing Jobs in Qatar


Can I change job after completion of the fixed contract?

Yes, an employee do not require NOC to change job after completion of his fixed contract priod.

How can Open Contract employees change jobs?

Employees on indefinite open contracts have to either complete 5 years in service or get NOC from the existing employers.

How can I change job without NOC?

An employee who has completed either the period of a fixed-contract or five years under an open contract can change job without NOC.

Can I come back to Qatar after completing my contract?

If the expatriate has completed the required contract period and has a new job contract and visa, he can immediately come back to Qatar.

Can my employer keep my passport without my consent?

No, employers found to have confiscated passports can be fined up to QR 25,000 per worker.


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