The Shura Council on Monday made a number of recommendations on the issues of changing employer and travel without notification for expatriate workers, and decided to refer them to the government, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
These include allowing a worker to change employer no more than three times during his stay in Qatar, limit the percentage of workers who receive approval to change employer to 15% annually in a company except with the approval of the employer, and increasing the percentage of workers who are not allowed to travel without permission from the employer from 5% to 10%, among others.
It also recommended that a permanent committee be established at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) to decide all applications for sponsorship transfer.
The recommendations were made at the Shura Council's regular weekly meeting yesterday, held under the chairmanship of HE Speaker of the Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud. The session was held using video-conferencing technology at the council headquarters.
During the session, the council discussed the supplementary report of the joint committee of the Services and Public Utilities Committee and the Internal and External Affairs Commitee regarding the general discussion request submitted by several members of the council on the change of employer and travel without notification for expatriate workers.
The Shura Council then made the recommendations after discussing the committee's report and based on its keenness to support the efforts exerted by the government - represented by the MADLSA - and to develop the business sector in Qatar, QNA said. It had also listened to the council members' views in this regard during the session held on January 4, which was attended by HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, and also discussed their observations and proposals in the session held on February 8.
The recommendations called for ensuring the financial and legal status of the company to which the worker will move, especially in obtaining approval for visa, and ensuring that the first party does not lose its visa. They also called for ensuring that the number of times a worker is allowed to change the employer does not exceed three during his/her stay in the country in order to prove his seriousness at work, in addition to ensuring that the percentage of workers who receive approval to change employer does not exceed 15% annually for a company except with the approval of the employer, the QNA report states.
When recruiting workers to implement governmental or quasi-governmental contracts, it should be taken into account that they should not be granted a change of employer except with the consent of the employer until the term of those contracts expires and that the visa should be linked to the contract. They also called for fair compensation for the costs the company had incurred on the worker.
In its recommendations, the Shura Council called for addressing the phenomenon of illegal workers by putting in place the appropriate mechanism and amending their conditions in accordance with the law. It has also demanded to provide adequate procedures to define the status of a worker whose transfer request has not been accepted and the original employer expresses his unwillingness to take back the worker. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) should set up the appropriate mechanism so that the worker's employer is notified three days before the date of his departure by text message or via the Metrash2 application.
The recommendations also included an emphasis on determining the period of the contract signed by the employer and the worker, and that the worker is prohibited from requesting a change of employer during the contract period, which should not exceed two years, unless there are reasons justifying this or with the approval of his employer.
The recommendations also include increasing the percentage of workers who are not allowed to travel without permission of the employer from 5% to 10%, as there are small and medium enterprises and companies with "very limited" number of employees, the report adds.
The Shura Council also recommended that a permanent committee be established at the MADLSA to decide on all applications for sponsorship transfer, provided that the committee has in its membership representatives from Qatar Chamber and the MoI.