The new law exempting expatriate workers from obtaining an exit permit to leave the country will be implemented by the private sector and does not include government/quasi-government agencies or personal sponsorships, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) has reported, quoting a senior Ministry of Interior (MoI) official.

Captain Nasser al-Khalaf of the MoI made the observation at a workshop held by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) as part of a series of awareness workshops being conducted to shed light on the recent amendments to the law regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residency.

On the occasion, the ministries called on all private companies and employers to prepare for the implementation of amendments to the law regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residency.

The amended law guarantees the right of expatriate workers who come under the provisions of the Labour Law to leave the country temporarily or on final exit, without requiring the consent of the employer. An employer, though, can specify 5% of employees who need pre-approval before leaving the country due to their nature of work.

The workshops are being held through co-operation and co-ordination between the MoI, MADLSA and Qatar Chamber (QC) with a view to give more details to companies, institutions and employers about the amendments, especially with regard to the procedures and controls to determine the 5% of workers in private sector companies whose departure from the country require prior approval/permission.

Mohamed Ali al-Meer, director of the Labour Inspection Department at the MADLSA, said the ministry has completed all the procedures related to the implementation of the law. The legislation allows employees of a private company to leave without an exit permit except for 5% percent of its workers, which is a percentage determined by the employer based on the nature of some sensitive jobs such as those in exchange companies, gold shops and so on, QNA states.

Captain al-Khalaf said the law will be implemented effectively after being announced in the Official Gazette. He noted that it will be implemented by the private sector and does not include government/quasi-government agencies or personal sponsorships.

Meanwhile, a seminar was held for representatives of diplomatic missions in the country to introduce them to amendments to the residency law that abolishes the exit permit as well as the new system of completing the residency permit (RP) procedures in the home countries of expatriates, the MoI said in a statement.

The seminar was held by the MoI and MADLSA.

Mohamed al-Obaidli, assistant undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the MADLSA, explained the amendment pertaining to the removal of exit permit and said it will come into effect in the near future.

He defined the new decisions as part of a series of decisions and procedures aimed at the development of the workers recruitment and employment system in Qatar. “We are working in co-ordination with the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Chamber to hold several awareness seminars on these procedures for relevant bodies, including diplomatic missions," he said.

Maj Abdullah Khalifa al-Mohannadi, director of the Visa Support Services Department at the MoI, explained the initiative to allow expatriate workers to complete RP procedures such as fingerprinting and biometric data processing, medical examination and the signing of work contracts for expatriates in their home countries.

He noted that the initiative enables the completion of all procedures for the recruitment of workers in their countries before coming to Qatar. The process will be completed at special service centres set up in their countries and through an electronic system that provides various steps and stages of implementing the recruitment process, including medical examination, biometric data process and signing of employment contracts.

The project will be implemented in eight countries in the first stage: Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. The project will be implemented in Sri Lanka next month and later in the rest of the eight countries, to be followed in all countries from where workers are recruited.

Maj al-Mohannadi highlighted the features of the initiative, which simplifies the RP procedures by saving time, effort and cost. “The new system will ensure compliance with the terms of the employment contract and preserve the rights of the expatriate worker and employer. It also will avoid cases of return of medically unfit workers,” he added.