The conditions and regulations announced by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs for changing jobs under Law No 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates apply to only the private sector, the Ministry has said.
As per the rules, an expatriate can change jobs provided the new employer has an approval for a position for the same nationality, gender and profession. The worker seeking a job change is required to submit a request to the ministry 30 days before the contract comes to an end, if it is a fixed–term contract. In case of an open-ended contract, the worker should stay not less than five years in service and the notice period would be 30 days if the duration of service is five years, and 60 days, if the duration of service is more than five years.
A notice posted on the ministry website said that “there should be no restrictions against the new employer that would stop the change.” Expatriates aged above 60 years cannot seek a job change. The above terms and conditions are meant for the private sector, according to the notice. “All applications and approvals are subject to all terms and conditions announced by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs,” it added. An e-application available at the website which can be accessed by entering the Qatar ID number and mobile number of the expat worker.
He will then receive a pin number on their mobile using which he can access the “Worker Notice e-Service” on the website. Exit permit and change of job were the most controversial issues in the old law and the discussion was more or less focused around these points and some other relevant procedural issues. Basically exit permit was not a big problem for more than 99 percent of the expatriate employees in Qatar, but could be so for some categories of businessmen and investors, said a businessman running a contracting company here.
“Of course, there is multi-exit permit that businessmen use, but the problem they face is mainly due to the absence of an economic free zone,” he said. Representative (Mandoub) of a contracting company said that so far no worker of the company has applied for change. Asked about the main advantages of the new law, he said that exit has become free and easier, and the procedures are clear for anyone who is denied exit. He, however, said it is not clear whether the new law allows employers to borrow workers from another company (Ea’ara) on a temporary basis.
Making it mandatory for workers to sign the job contract in the country of origin before coming to Qatar may be a problem for workers in some countries. Making all transactions electronic including change of employer may also cause difficulties for workers who do not know how to use computer or online services, he added. The ministry has urged expatriate employees to visit its technical support section if they come across any problems or technical issues and given the contact address [email protected] 40288888
Workers are also allowed to come back to the country on new work contract the next day after his departure which is good for many workers. However, according to some experts, the new law prevents return before four years if the employee’s contract is terminated for disciplinary reasons and if he did not file a complaint in the competent court or his complaint is rejected by the court. An expatriate worker deported upon court decision will not be able to come back to the country without the minister’s approval. Another Mandoub pointed out that most private companies would opt for five years contract and if the worker refused he would be denied a job.