The new legislation on exit permits – Law No. 13 of 2018, amending certain provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates - came into effect Sunday, drawing praise from various quarters. Here are some of the reactions from diplomats in Qatar, representing different countries:

'EU ready to support Qatar on these and future reforms'

-Willy Kempel, Austrian ambassador, in his capacity as the current local EU chair in Qatar

The enforcement of Law No. 13 by Qatar, ending the exit visa requirements for migrant workers covered by the Labour Code marks a positive step for the promotion and protection of the rights of expatriate workers in Qatar. It is a clear sign of commitment by the Government of Qatar to improve the situation of migrant workers. The European Union is ready to support Qatar on these and future reforms.” 
Austria, acting as the local EU presidency in agreement with the EU member states present in Qatar and the delegation of the European Union accredited to Qatar.

'No doubt this new measure will support workforce market'

-Carlos Hernandez, Argentinian ambassador

“In my opinion, the implementation of Qatar’s new exit permit law is a very positive step towards meeting international regulations in work relations. 

“It shows a clear understanding, by the Qatari authorities, of the situation and no doubt this new measure will support and facilitate the workforce market in Qatar.”
“In the particular case of my country, I feel pretty sure our citizens will now take a look to the employment opportunities in Qatar and will try to settle down, if possible, with their families for long periods - avoiding the usual situation of one person working here while the family continuously living in their own country.”
“It was a long-expected decision, wished for by expatriates and residents.”
“Qatar once again shows its goodwill in subjects related to labour. We feel happy about that.” 

'This legislation will benefit majority of expats'
-Pasquale Salzano, Italian ambassador

“The promulgation of Law No. 13 by His Highness the Amir represents a strong achievement in the process led by the Qatari authorities to implement an ambitious labour reform agenda in terms of the protection of migrant workers and their rights. 
“This legislation will benefit the majority of expats by positively impacting their lives and contributing to create the proper conditions to attract to Qatar more skilled and experienced migrant workers in a local labour market more competitive and dynamic.”

'Reform a testament to Qatar's sincere commitment'
-Alan L Timbayan, Philippine ambassador

“The embassy wishes to note that as a labour-sending country, the Philippines welcomes this development. Qatar’s move towards reforming its kafala system will not only allow mobility and freer movement of people but also address concerns on travel restrictions.
“This important reform by Qatar is a testament to its sincere commitment to better the lot of expatriate workers in Qatar. The Philippines stands ready to co-operate with Qatar on this and other reforms on the labour front, which will stand to benefit our expatriates. 

'Further proof of the strong efforts of Qatari government'
-Ewa Polano, Swedish ambassador

“The new law, on ending the need for exit permits, coming into force is further strong proof of the strong efforts of the Qatari government. It is certainly impressive to follow Qatar’s high ambitions in all areas under Qatar National Vision 2030. This counts now also very much for the Qatar government’s ambitious agenda on labour reform.”

'A move in the right direction'
-Chang-mo Kim, South Korean ambassador

"I think it's a nice move, in the right direction from a human rights aspect. I hope with this and the introduction of permanent residency, changes in Qatar could lead to broader changes in the whole Middle East in terms of expatriates' working conditions."

'We welcome this development'
-David Des Dicang, Philippine labour attache

“We welcome this development for the benefit of workers.”
“We are hopeful that the new procedures will now facilitate the smooth travel of workers who have completed their contracts. And we also expect that the guidelines will help fast-track repatriation of workers”.

A positive step taken by the Government of Qatar

-Nguyen Dinh Thao, ambassador of Vietnam

Cancelling the need for the exit permit is a positive step taken by the Government of Qatar, which would further enhance its efforts to protect the rights of foreign workers. We appreciate the government’s desire to promote the welfare of its foreign workforce, including Vietnamese workers, and believe that Qatar is determined to give workers the best possible working conditions - setting an example to be followed across the region.

-As told to Joey Aguilar, Peter Alagos and Ayman Adly