Qatar labor law 2016
December 13, 2016 in General
Doha: Qatar’s Amir approved reform of the country’s labour laws on Tuesday, state media said.
The Qatar News Agency said Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had issued a new law overseeing the sponsorship system – which currently only allows workers to leave the country with the approval of their employer – as well as rules which allow workers to switch jobs.
However, the announced changes may not come into force until almost 2017 at the earliest.
QNA said Shaikh Tamim had approved reforms “on the regulation of the entry and exit of expatriates and their residency”.
“All concerned authorities, each in their capacity, are to implement the law and it will be applicable one year after its date of publication in the official gazette.”
Under the new proposals, workers will be able to leave the country after giving at least three days’ notice to the interior ministry.
Officials will then contact the employer or sponsor for approval.
In addition, workers will be allowed to change jobs at the end of a contract, without the consent of their bosses.
Qatar had announced earlier this year that it was committed to reform of the “kafala” system.
However, changes to the laws have been the subject of debate within Qatar itself, with the Shura Council questioning reforms earlier this summer.
The Qatari government has said that labour law reforms would bring “tangible benefits” and urged patience from critics who say the proposed changes are inadequate.The new regulations, aimed at making it easier for migrant workers to change jobs and leave the country, come into effect on Tuesday.”The new law is the latest step towards improving and protecting the rights of every expatriate worker in Qatar,” Labour Minister Issa al-Nuaimi said in a statement.The gas-rich Gulf state is one of the wealthiest in the world, but its treatment of foreign workers from countries like India, Nepal and Bangladesh has come under scrutiny as it spends billions of dollars on building new infrastructure in the run-up to hosting the 2022 football World Cup.
A work-sponsorship system, known as “Kefala”, currently requires all foreign workers to obtain their employer’s consent to travel abroad or switch jobs, a measure rights groups say leaves workers prone to exploitation and forced labour.The reforms will establish the creation of state-run “grievance committees” to which workers can appeal if employers deny them permission.They will also allow workers who have completed contracts to change jobs freely and imposes fines of up to 25,000 riyals ($6,865.87) on businesses who confiscate employees’ passports.Ashish (not his real name) a steelworker in Doha since 2007, said it was too soon for him to know if the new law would improve the situation.
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