Qatar Freelance Visa: Important Things To Know (2024)

Doha Guides Team regularly reviews this article to ensure the content is up-to-date and accurate. The last editorial review and update were on 02 February 2024.

Qatar follows a sponsor-based system for employment visas which requires all expatriate workers to be under the sponsorship of a local entity (a Qatari citizen or a business registered in Qatar). The sponsor, usually the employer, is responsible for the employee’s visa and legal status.

Even though most expatriates in Qatar legally work under their original sponsor, a few people work for other employers and claim they are under the so-called “Freelance Visa”.

This article will explain the legal side of the Qatar Freelance Visa and its associated problems. We will also explain how you can legally work for another employer without issues.

Freelance Visa Meaning

A freelance visa is a type of visa available in many countries that lets you work independently as a self-employed individual delivering services to different employers. As freelance visa holders are not bound by any employer, they can work independently and find new clients that require their service.

Is Qatar Freelance Visa Legal?

At the beginning of 2022, Qatar’s neighbouring country, UAE introduced freelance visas for various categories to attract global talent to the country. UAE’s “Talent Pass” license for self-employment is available for professionals with unique skills and expertise.

However, like most other GCC countries, Qatar does not have a freelance visa scheme for employment purposes. Anyone who claims to be on a Qatar freelance visa is either ignorant about the law or doesn’t want you to know he is working illegally. There are a couple of ways under which you can temporarily work for another employer, but that doesn’t make it a freelance visa. We will explain them later in this article.

What is Freelance Visa in Qatar?

The visa type popular as a “freelance visa” (also called “free visa“, “azad visa” etc.) in Qatar is a regular employment visa issued legally but handled illegally. What differentiates it from a legal work visa is that the employer (or sponsor) does not offer any job or salary to the sponsored person. Instead, he is only offered a work visa using which he can live in Qatar and work for any other employer illegally.

Here the employee pays the sponsor a lumpsum amount or a monthly fee for this visa. In reality, the labour agreement signed while issuing the visa says that the sponsor should pay the employee through a bank account set up as per the WPS (Wage Protection System).

Qatar Labour Law & Qatar Freelance Visa

Qatar Freelance Visa Problems

Many people willingly pay for such a visa even after knowing it is legally not allowed. Often, it allows them the flexibility to work with any employer and makes it easier to get a job. However, there are several problems with working through this system:

Illegal Employment: The first and foremost problem with a freelance visa is that you work illegally and may not even know about that. Selling and buying an employment visa is not allowed in Qatar. If there is a random labour check at your place of work and the labour officers find that your visa is under another sponsor, you may be subject to fines, jail terms and even deportation.

Absconding Sponsor: We often see that the people “selling freelance visas” for money run their business only to sell these visas. Once their visa quota is over, they may close their business and leave the country. Sometimes they would just close one business and open another business under another name.

As someone working on an employment visa, you would always need your sponsor to renew your visa, bring your family or even cancel your visa. After a few years, when it is time for you to renew your Qatar ID or change your current sponsor, you will not be able to find them anywhere.

More Money To Change Sponsor: Another common issue is that if you want to change your job to a better company or another sponsor, your old sponsor may ask you to pay him more. They may also demand money to get a driving license, change profession, sponsor your family, etc. Usually, they demand thousands of Qatari Riyal, thus exploiting you further.

Qatar Freelance Visa Cost

Sadly, many people fall into this system and pay between QR 5,000 to QR 10,000 for a so-called “freelance visa”. Sometimes, they pay a monthly fee between QR 250 to QR 500 to the sponsor.

Most victims are from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They often spend so much money believing they are under this particular “free visa” category that allows them to work anywhere.

Legal Ways To Work For Another Employer in Qatar

All being said, there are some legal ways through which an employee can work for another employer:

1) Working For Labour Supply Companies

Labour supply companies are licensed to supply manpower on a contract basis to other employers. This will be through proper channels and with written agreements. Here, the labour supply company will be responsible for collecting the employees’ salaries and ensuring that they are paid on time.

If “Company A” supplies workers to “Company B”, the workers can work at Company B’s premises without legal issues. However, Company A will still be responsible for its workers’ well-being.

2) Working For Another Employer As Secondee

Another option is to work as a “Secondee” for another employer with formal written permission from the original sponsor and approval of the Ministry of Labour. As per the law, this agreement should not be for more than six months. After the period, the agreement can be renewed for a similar period.

This can also be for a part-time basis other than his original employer’s designated working hours. In all cases, the approval of the Ministry of Labor must be sought for the categories subject to the provisions of the Labor Law.

What Qatar Labour Law Says

According to Article 15 of Qatar Labour Law (Law no. 4 of 2009):

“No natural or juristic person may allow expatriates recruited as employees to work for any other entities, nor may they employ staff who is not thus sponsored. The competent authority may, exceptionally, allow the sponsor to second its Expatriate employees to another employer for no more than six months, with the arrangement renewable for a similar period.”

Punishment For Working Illegally

If a person is found working illegally for another employer, the Ministry of Labour is authorised to take action against both the employer, the sponsor, and the employee. All three may face fines, and the employee may even face deportation.

Conclusion

To work in Qatar, you should be recruited from your home country or locally through proper channels. You can submit your resume to companies in Qatar and attend job fairs or recruitment events. You can even come on a visit visa to Qatar and attend job interviews (please note that it is illegal to work on a visit visa).

You need to undergo the procedures like submitting a resume, attending an interview, signing a labour contract, medical check, background check and issuing an employment visa. Please avoid anyone offering a shortcut to work in Qatar through a “freelance visa”, as that may land you in trouble.


FAQ On Qatar Freelance Visa


Is freelance visa legal in Qatar?

The so-called freelance visa is not legally allowed in Qatar. As per Qatar Labour Law, an employee can only work temporarily under another employer with written permission from the original employer and approval from the Ministry of Labour.

How can I get freelance visa in Qatar?

Qatar does not have a freelance visa system, as claimed by many people. Those caught working illegally for another employer may face legal actions.

READ NEXT: How Employees Can Change Jobs in Qatar


Related Articles:

  1. Qatar Visa on Arrival: Complete Guide
  2. How To Find A Job In Qatar: Your Essential Guide
  3. Qatar Business Visa: Complete Guide
  4. How To File A Labour Complaint in Qatar
  5. How To Change Jobs in Qatar
  6. Qatar Labour Law: Important Things To Know
  7. 3 Ways To Easily Check Travel Ban in Qatar

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    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Maxx, Please note that Qatar does not have a freelance visa system. Selling or buying of employment visa (what is called a freelance visa) is illegal. It is a punishable offence to work for someone else who is not your legal sponsor.

  1. Hi, I came qatar with freelance visa. the person who give me visa, he cheated me. he give me wrong information about the company. I paid him 10000 qr for the visa.now more than one year I cannot go for work because he is not giving me noc . every time I ask about noc and company details, he is lying to me. it’s already time to renew my qid. he said without renew the qid he can’t give me the noc. I paid him again 3000 qr for renew my qid because I don’t have any other options. now almost 2 and half months he didn’t renew my qid. when I ask him to give my money back,he blocked me. please suggest me what I can do to get my money back .

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Sneha, As you would know selling and buying employment visa is illegal in Qatar. In your case the last option would be to file a police complaint. The police will take action against the agent, but there is no guarantee you will get money back. Moreover your visa also will be cancelled. You may be able to come back on another visa. If possible, try to get a lawyer’s advice before filing complaint.

  2. HI, I’m here in Qatar for almost 3 years now and I already got another sponsor and started my process to change through MOL adlas, I already got message for been submitted and the notice period was 1 month and now the date is already expired but it’s still UNDER REVIEW. how long will I wait to get the approval/reject message?

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Antony, Nowadays there is a delay in such requests. You can visit any Ministry of Labour Office to check the status.

  3. hi m Nima from Bhutan I want to change freelancevisa from here but I don’t have NOC. Without NOC how can I change or is possible to change from qatar.

  4. if my sponsor is my husband
    can i work legally in one company
    but still my husband is my sponsor,
    what is the procedure thanks

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Kat, If you want to work while being on your husband’s sponsorship, your employer has to apply for a work permit for you (without changing sponsorship). This is something they can do from their side.

  5. if company terminated you is legal to pay for NOC? yet they forced you to pay ID with your salary, and you are under company?

  6. Good day Team,thank you for your guidance. Please I want to know if I can extend my 90days Qatar visa.If yes,kindly advice me.Thank you

    1. Hi Barnabas, It will depend on what type of visa this is. It is not possible in most cases. If it is a work visa, please check with your sponsor.

  7. helo sir please my name is chukwuka from Nigeria. I came to Qatar with freelance visa and have been unable to locate my sponsor in other to do my medicals and get my 🆔. please how do I go about it because my agent isn’t giving me a good response and am airlady wasting my time and money here .

    1. Hi Chukwula, Sorry to hear about that. Please note that there is no freelance visa in Qatar. Buying or selling of employment visa is illegal. Your entry visa will have a validity period (usually 90 days) within which medical and fingerprint should be completed. Try to contact your sponsor or agent and resolve this soon. If you can’t find them try to leave Qatar within the 90 days period. If you decide to leave the country, you can contact the local authorities or your embassy so that they can locate your sponsor and prevent them from exploiting more people.

  8. Festus (Young Prof)

    Dear Doha guided teams, thanks very much for your elucidated articles, i must commend you’ve really saved huge number of souls from so called
    Qatar freelance work visa victim.
    Please my humble question now is can I search for jobs or get sponsor in Qatar on visa on arrival (Qatar tourist visa A1) before January 2024 as extend .
    And what’s the possiblity that i get employed under sponsor company?

    Thanks with regards.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Festus, Thank you for your kind words.
      Please note that validity of Tourist Visa is 30 days from date of entry. 24 January 2024 is the validity period for “Hayya With Me (voucher)” visa, which is different from Tourist visa.
      Regarding your question, if you get a job offer during your visit to Qatar (or before visiting Qatar), your employer will sponsor your work visa. This is the proper way to work in Qatar.
      However please note that finding a job depends on your skills and luck. Best wishes!

  9. Hello, My name is Kelly from Nigeria , I and my husband each recently got Qatar freelance visas and we are about to leave for Qatar but I found out I am pregnant, would that affect my medicals and getting my QID over there ?
    I am really worried because I just heard they do pregnancy test during medicals, if confirmed what would be my faith?

    Please advise
    Thanks

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Kelly, It should be OK. During the medical test inform them that you are pregnant. They will exclude you from X-Ray.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Kirojr, For most nationalities, only visa and passport is needed. If you are from Philippines there may be some additional steps from Embassy (depending on your visa type). It is better to check with your employer / sponsor.

  10. Hi my name is Cletus from Nigeria, I recently apply for freelance visa 2years freelance visa, the visa is approved already but has not yet printed nor paid to print.

    But I change my mind I don’t need the visa anymore how can I do now ? I ask for a refund while the money the put for the visa fee to apply it I don’t need it I let go of it .

    The sponsor charge me 7000 QR Riyal now I ask him to pay me back 6000 QR riyals since he has paid to print the visa upon the visa approved and ready to print,and the visa is valid for 3moths.

    Please advise me on what to do thanks so much. My email is [email protected]

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Cletus, As per Qatar rule selling and buying work visa is illegal. However you cannot file a complaint with Qatar police from outside Qatar. You can file a complaint with local police in Nigeria.

  11. I’m a Ghanaian,am having a free visa but has not yet enter into Qatar.Can a company sponsor me to get into Qatar to work despite having a different sponsor name on the visa .

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Owoahene, As per the official rule you can only work for the employer (sponsor) whose name is on your visa.There is an option that your sponsor can make special permit for you to work with another employer for maximum 6 months. If you want to work with another employer for longer period please ask them to sponsor you. You can transfer your visa to new sponsor with the permission of old sponsor.

      1. Hi my name is Caleb from Nigeria, I am currently in Qatar with the so called freelance visa, I cannot find a job and I’m paying for all my expenses, can I report the sponsor to CID to either provide me with a job or refund me the money I paid for the visa and book my flight back to my country

        1. Doha Guides Team

          Hi Caleb, If you are finding it difficult to stay in Qatar you can report to the officials. However chances of getting your money back is very less. Usually officials will take action against the sponsor and make sure sponsor doesn’t sell visa to others in the future. They can help with cancelling your visa and going back to your country. If you plan to come back to Qatar in future it is important to cancel your visa before you leave.

  12. Kansiime joanitah

    Am currently working in a housekeeping company and am remaining three months to finish my contract. I want to change a job but my company doesn’t give NOC. How can I be helped if there’s no free visa?

  13. Wobenyi lovette chiketon

    Hi
    I am from Cameroon and a physics teacher by profession and have someone who is interested in traveling to Qatar and work there so I will like to have some guidance on how to go about it. Thank waiting

  14. Hi
    Thanks for your article, it was really insightful and informative.
    I’m a Greek National and a French teacher, and I had wanted to live in Qatar and work online as a French and Greek tutor. Could you share with me your thoughts about this, and any advice you can give? I would gladly appreciate it. Thanks

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Bright, We assume you want to work online for institutions outside Qatar. Currently Qatar does not have a visa type where you can stay in the country and work online for employers outside Qatar (Dubai has some options like that). You need to find a Qatar-based employer who will sponsor your visa and allow you to work legally. Or else you can register a business in Qatar which will give you the freedom to work online. This would also require a Qatari sponsor.