Qatar Labour Law: Important Points You Need To Know

In 2015, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued law no 21 for 2015 regarding Regulation of the Expatriates Entry, Departure, and Residence. Here are the explanations for the main articles in the law.

Here are some extracts about the major changes to Qatar Labour Law with the official wordings used in each legal article.

Qatar Labour Law: Introduction

The employment relationship in Qatar is principally governed by the provisions of Law No. 14 of 2004 Regulating Employment.

The Qatar Labour Law ratifies the minimum standard of rights and benefits for employees to which employers must adhere as well as the obligations of employees working in Qatar.

The new Law No. 21 of 2015 detailing the regulations on the Entry, Exit, and Residency of Foreign Nationals has been in force since 2016.

Note that the term ‘recruiter’ has been used instead of the sponsor, but refers to the person or company who hired the worker

Article 7 – Leaving Qatar

  • If an expatriate worker wants to leave Qatar, he or his recruiter should report to the concerned department at the Ministry of Interior at least three days work before the exit date.
  • The expatriate worker may exit the country as soon as the recruiter informs the concerned department about his approval to let the worker go on leave.
  • If the recruiter or the concerned department raises an objection, the expatriate worker can resort to the expatriate exit petitions committee.
  • In case of an emergency for the expatriate worker, the committee shall take a decision on his exit permit request within three workdays.
  • The Minister of Interior shall issue a decision to form such committee and specify its jurisdictions and the procedures to be followed by it, in addition to its mechanism of work.

Article 8 – Custody of Passport

  • The recruiter shall hand over the passport of the expatriate worker or his travel document to him upon finalizing the necessary procedures of issuing his residency permit or its renewal.
  • The worker can request in writing to the recruiter to keep for him such documents. But these should be handed over when requested by the expatriate worker.
  • The residency permit shall be done or renewed within 90 days of its expiry date.

Article 12 – Residency Permits for Family

  • Concerned department at the Ministry of Interior can grant residency permits for the spouse, undergraduate sons of up to 25 years old and unmarried daughters of the expatriate worker.
  • However, such age condition may be exempted by the Minister of Interior or his deputy.
  • Also, the expatriate worker can be granted a residency permit for his parent through approval by the Minister of Interior or whom he may ever delegate when such request is justified.
  • However, the conditions for granting such residency approvals shall be regulated by a decision of the Minister of Interior.

Article 14 – Staying Out of Qatar

Expatriate workers who have residency in the country shall not stay outside the country for more than six continuous months unless they get a permit to return to the country before the passage of one year on their exit, on condition the expiry date of their residency did not exceed 60 days.

However, the Minister of Interior or his deputy may overlook such designated periods.

Qatar Labour Law

Article 16 – Designated Works Only

Expatriate residents shall only use their residency permits in the designated licensed purpose only. The worker cannot quit work at his recruiter’s or work at another entity without prior authorization.

Article 17 – Responsible Parties for Each Visa

Those responsible for the residency of expatriates are as follows:

  • the employer for the expatriate workers
  • the family head for his family members in the country
  • the host for those on visit visa
  • the concerned entities in the country for the expatriate coming to the country for other purposes

Article 19 – Notification About Workers Who Quit

The recruiter shall notify the concerned department within 14 days about the expatriate workers who quit working for him or his refusal to leave the country after the expiry or cancellation of his residency permit within the legal period or otherwise the expiry of his visit visa or the purpose for which he entered the country.

  • The recruiter shall bear all the expenses of repatriating the expatriate worker.
  • If the worker was working for other than his recruiter, such entity or person shall pay the cost of repatriation.
  • In case of the death of the expatriate worker, the recruiter shall pay all the costs of burying the body at the designated cemetery in the country.
  • Yet, if any of the legal inheritors of the deceased person requested the repatriation of the body, the recruiter shall pay all the involved costs accordingly.

Article 20 – Transfer of Jobs

Upon the approval of the employer, the concerned department at the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the expatriate worker may transfer to another employer before the expiry date of his work contract.

The expatriate worker may, upon the approval of the concerned department at the MOI and the MOLSA, transfer to another employer :

upon the expiration of his work contract (if the contract is for a fixed period)
OR after the passage of five years on his work with the employer (if the contract is open)
OR upon the death of the recruiter
OR upon the end of the company for any reason

Article 22 – Litigation Between Workers and Recruiter

Minister of Interior or his deputy may approve the temporary transfer of the expatriate worker to another employer in case of litigation between the worker and his recruiter, on condition of the approval of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Also, the Minister of Interior may grant the expatriate workers, to another employer in case the recruiter abused his rights.

Article 26 – Four Year Ban in Case of Punishment

If the worker was fired as a punitive measure and did not appeal before the concerned court or his appeal was ultimately rejected, he shall not be permitted to come back to the country before the passage of four years on his departure.

Also, those expatriate workers who were repatriated upon a court verdict cannot come back to the country unless they got approval by a decision of the Minister of Interior.

Article 38 – Penalties for Violations

Regarding the penalties for related violations, article 38 stipulates the recruiters or employers who let those recruited by their work at other employers without the approval of the concerned department shall get a jail sentence of no more than three years and a fine of no more than QR500,000 or any of these penalties.

The same applies to the employers who hire expatriate workers not recruited by them without obtaining prior authorization.

However, in case of reconciliation before the resolve of the legal case, the violator may pay on a sum of QR12,000 subject to the approval of the Minister of Interior or his deputy according to the set regulations.

Copyright © – Full or partial reproduction of this article in any language is prohibited.

FAQ on Qatar Labour Law

How many months can an expatriate resident stay out of Qatar?

Expatriate workers who have residency in Qatar shall not stay outside the country for more than six continuous months, or else they need to get a return permit.

Can I work for someone other than my employer?

Expatriate residents cannot work at another entity without prior authorization.

Can my employer ban me from entering Qatar?

If the worker was fired as a punishment and did not appeal before the concerned court or his appeal was rejected, he shall not be permitted to come back for 4 years.

Can my employer keep custody of my passport?

No, The employer has to hand over the passport to the worker upon finalizing the necessary procedures of issuing his residency permit or its renewal.

What are the conditions to change jobs in Qatar?

An expatriate can change jobs either after completing the contract period (for a fixed contract) or five years (for an open contract). Otherwise, he needs NOC from his employer.

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54 thoughts on “Qatar Labour Law: Important Points You Need To Know”

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  1. Hi i have a little bit enquirey…i just wanted to know that if a persons passport is blocked by the sponsor because the person wasnt willing to work under that sponsorship or was not comfortable with that job what is the possibility or the procedure to get that passport back. And will that person can work again in any other firm?
    Looking forward for your kind reply

  2. Dear NIRCAFE,

    I am under the period of probationary to the new company since May 2 2016 which will end by Nov. 2 2016 and my visa is already transferred. Due to the working environment and salary issue I have to decide to find a new job. Since my visa is already transferred is it possible when I get a new employer before the new law will effect this year will my visa would allow to be transferred again since it has been newly transferred just 5months ago ( NOC could possibly obtain from the current employer). Lastly, if the new law is imposed and the same time I found a new employer, would it be possible to transfer my visa to the new employer with reference to my present status where my visa had just transferred 5 months ago?

      1. I just want to add that i am 5months now in the company but my QID is still not in my hands and they still hold my passport

  3. Hello how about if the case was the employee filed an emergency leave and then suddenly did not return back as he/she had encounter family matter problems.Can she/he would have a chance to go back in Qatar.Tganks in advance for your response.

  4. Hi sir,what is the resignation policy as per new law Before expire of contract ? Indeed do i need to pay ccompensation? Or they can refuse my exit?

    1. In the same case of above Mr. Karthik whether he will be eligible for gratuity amount or not ? If he has finished more than 5-10 years in same company.

      Plz reply

  5. Dear Sir,

    One of my friend is in 2 years Qatar Auto Ban, now can he come in business visa to Qatar during this ban time.

  6. Good Day! I am currently employed in my current employer for 5 years now. I requested for my NOC released and still waiting for it. I am certain that I will get this NOC coz I did nothing wrong in my company.

    However while waiting the release of my NOC would it be possible to where I can transfer my sponsorship from my current employer as I really don’t feel like working with them anymore..i am not comfortable and happy anymore and it’s affecting my work performance.

    Also I applied for NOC because i found new job here..but now I don’t feel like not to continue working On it instead i want to go home back in my country and definitely wanted to go back in Qatar next year again.

    Should I still need to wait for my NOC released now or I can come back next year here in Qatar without NOC? As the new law will be implemented soon they said.

    Please advice. ThAnks.

  7. Hi,

    I need your guidance, a company applied for business visa for me without informing me it is in ready to print state. Now my new employer is trying to get a work permit for me in qutar for oboius reasons will this busniess viss which was never validated or used spoil the chances of other visa.

    Should a cancelation required in my case as it is an unprinted business visa. Do i need an NOC too.

    Please guide.


    1. Hi Ajju, The first visa will have to be cancelled or the validity should automatically expire. NOC is not required since you did not use the visa.

  8. krishnamurthy m

    i am working since 16months from Jan 2015, my contract is indefinite period. If i resign and go back to my country and get back to a new offer after the new law implemention.
    Suppose i leave in october can i join in Jan 2017. Will the five year rule apply…Pl advise …

    1. Dear Krishnamurthy, As per the information we have until now, the new law will be applicable only to new contracts signed after the law is implemented. So most likely you will still have ban if you leave in October. The law does not mention what happens to others under old contracts. This will be clear only after the bye-laws are released in coming months. Please wait for few months.

  9. Hi,

    What would be the Least Position to be Granted for Husband Visa.. I am A Supervisor and Earning 12k per Month, But My QID Position is a Foreman Only, If I change to Supervisor Would you think it will be OKEY? t

    Thank You,

    1. Hi James, We have seen many people with Supervisor position get family visa approved (if they meet other requirements). If it is possible for you to upgrade to something higher, it is even better. Good luck!

  10. i want to know that my visa is two years (2014-sep t0 2016) remaining 7 months balance. initially our company entered the agreement for one year. they didn’t renewer my agreement. even they renewed my QID. if i leave my company before my visa completion period, can i come again another company any type of visa, like work/business visa.

    1. Hi Jaya, The new law is not applicable to old contracts. If you leave now, there will be an automatic labour ban of 2 years. You cannot work for another company without NOC from old sponsor.

      1. Dear NRICAFE,

        My family is under my sponsorship. I will be changing my sponsor. Is this will affect their status? or they need to goback to our home country and re apply again?

  11. If for any reason the Rule says that an employee can change his company after the completion of 5 years from the same employer?will this be implemented granted?

  12. hi dear sir my name is aamer i am work qatar 4 year going vaction exit re entry come in india 26 june 2015

    after come india miss understand my sponcer i not going qatar 26 december 2015 cancel my visa i can

    apply newly visa qatar work i wait out side country qatar me face two years ban please tell me bro

    thank you

  13. Hi, I quit my service in qatar may 2013 on RP visa,After that went to qatar 2 times on business visa.In my service different sponsors are changed in my company.
    Recently i got an opportunity from Qatar(another company),they applied RP visa for me and that was rejected due to NOC.They applied many times and rejected,Finally the new company HR said your visa was blocked between different sponsorships of your previous company.The MOI need NOC.
    I request the sponsors they’re not responding.
    Why the my visa blocked between various sponsorships?.
    Is there any alternate solution for me?.

  14. srinivasarao katari

    I left qatar in jan 2013 ,my RP visa expired on may 2013.
    again went to qatar on 2013(sep-dec) ,and 2014(jan-april) on business visas for same sponsor.
    now i have any chance to go qatar for another sponsor.

    1. yes, you can switch to another employer. Technically, your visa RP expired in may 2013, so its already 2 years over. business visa doesn’t effect the RP/Employment visa. you can come so many times on business visa/tourist visa.


    I want to know whether there is 2 yrs ban was removed or not
    If it is removed what is the specific time they had given

  16. I am working last 16 years under one sponsorship. Can I change my sponsorship.

    and what are the formalities need to face?

    1. Hi Pooja, It is possible under new law, but this new law is not applicable yet. It would be only valid after 1 year of publishing in official gazette.

  17. There is nothing great about the new sponsorship law. The only relaxation is the short term contract and open ended contrat which permit the expat to change his job locally with the permission of the recruiter, which already exists, but for any objection by the recruiter, they can approach MOI & MOLSA.

    Exit permit system has become complicated and requires 3 working days minimum by the Committee appointed for the purpose at the Ministry. They would also seek the recruiters permission. This would seriously affect the expat to leave the country on emergency situations.

    2 year ban is lifted but with the permission of the recruiter…..!! Let my friends interpret the new law and debate….!!!

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