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Employment in Qatar is primary governed by Qatar Labor Law No. (14) of the year 2004 and a series of related Ministerial Resolutions. However corporate non corporate entities when dealing with employment in Qatar shall first consider the Sponsorship and Immigration Rules and Regulations which are mainly emphasized through the provisions of Law No. (4) of the year 2009 Regulating the Entry, Exit, Residence & Sponsorship of Foreigners (the “Sponsorship Law”) that has been ratified by the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and came into force on 29 April 2009.
With exception of some tourist visas which shall be only issued for tourism purposes, every non-GCC working foreigner wishing to enter/reside in Qatar shall have a sponsor in order to enter the country and work in Qatar.
Employees in Qatar (Excluding women sponsored by their husbands, minors and visitors whose visits do not exceed thirty days) cannot temporarily or permanently leave Qatar unless having first obtained an exit permit from their sponsoring employers.
As per the Sponsorship Law the sponsor shall not in any case hold the employees passports, however and as the Sponsorship Law provides that the sponsor shall be generally liable for the debts and obligations of those that it sponsors, therefore some sponsors still do require that they hold the passports of their employees.
The Sponsorship Law has maintained natural and juristic employers’ ability to prevent expatriates whom they have sponsored from abroad from working for other parties or preventing the use of workers not being sponsored by them. Similarly, an employee is also not allowed to work for another employer other than the employer from whom he received sponsorship.
The Sponsorship Law provides that it is restricted to grant a working visa to an expatriate, who has been residing in the Sate of Qatar for work purposes unless after two years from the departure date. However, the Law has given the Minister of Interior or his deputy the right to waive this period upon a written approval from the previous sponsor”.
Non-Qatari workers may not be employed otherwise than after approval of the Department of Labour and their obtaining of permits to work in the State of Qatar. Such a work permit shall be issued to the non-Qatari subject to the following conditions:-
Work permits are obtained from the Department of Labour after fulfilling various immigration formalities with the Ministry of Interior, including production of a local employment contract. There are a variety of different visas and permits obtainable in Qatar, dependent on the individual’s status.
Workers can be recruited from, or not recruited from, particular countries at particular times: this is something that needs to be discussed with the Immigration Department as necessary.
Qatar Labor Law prescribes a minimum set of entitlements which cannot be waived or limited
Article (4) (according to our unofficial translation; there being no official translations of Qatari laws) provides that the entitlements prescribed by this law represent the minimum entitlements of the workers and any stipulation contradicting the provisions of this law shall be void even it was made prior to the date of application of this law unless the said stipulation is more advantageous to the workers and any release, compromise or waiver of the entitlements prescribed for the worker by this law shall be deemed void.
Article (38) of the Labour Law in Qatar stipulates that:
“The service contract shall be made in writing and attested by the Department of Labour and shall comprise three copies, one copy to be delivered to each of the parties and the third copy to be deposited with the Department.
The service contract shall specify the terms concerning the labour relationship between its two parties and in particular shall contain the following:-
Qatar has agreements with certain countries in relation to protection of certain low-paid workers. There is however generally no minimum wage.
After one year’s continuous service, employee entitled (unless summarily dismissed) to at least three week’s salary for each year of service.
Upon end of the service of the worker, the employer shall at his own cost return the worker to the place from where he has recruited him at the commencement of the engagement or to any place agreed upon between the parties. The employer shall complete the proceedings of returning the non Qatari worker within a period not exceeding two weeks from the expiry date of the contract. If the worker joins another employer before his departure from the State, the obligation to return him to his country or other place shall shift to the other employer.
As the largest dedicated specialised employment law team in the Middle East, Al Tamimi & Company’s Employment team regularly advises employers on contentious and non-contentious employment law & labour law issues. For further information in respect of Qatari employment law considerations please contact Kamaljit Dosanjh (firstname.lastname@example.org).