The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has urged expatriates to make use of the grace period to correct the legal status of those violating Law No 21 of 2015 that regulates the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence.
MoI officials, while addressing a meeting of community leaders at the headquarters of the Search and Follow-up Department (SFD) on Sunday, said those who approach the authorities will be allowed to leave the country while exempting them from all consequences of legal responsibility.
The grace period started on October 10 and will end on December 31.
Lt Ahmed al-Marri
The community leaders visited the SFD headquarters to witness the facilities and the arrangements for receiving applications from violators of the Law No 21 of 2015 for their status correction during the grace period. The officials, during the meeting, reiterated that those who approach the SFD will not face any kind of action, including detention, and all facilities have been made to ensure their rights and smooth travel to the home country.
“Those who want to avail of the facility can come with the passport and an open ticket. We are set to help them,” Capt Kamal Tahir al-Tairi, an official at the SFD, said, adding that the process is simple and fast.
Capt Mohamed Ali al-Rashid
The target groups include the following: expatriates who stay in the country violating the law without obtaining a residence permit or without renewing it and exceeding 90 days from the validity date, and no absconding complaint has been filed against them by the employer; as well as those who stay in the country violating the law and an absconding complaint (leaving the work – violation of the purpose) has been filed against them by their employers, but 30 days have not been completed from the date of filing the complaint.
In such cases, their departure will be ensured by the SFD and they will be exempted from all consequences of legal responsibility while their return to Qatar on another visa will also be possible.
Capt Kamal Tahir al-Tairi
“In case of those who entered Qatar on family residence permits or as visitors and have violated the period of stay or the expatriates who have violated the law and an absconding complaint (leaving the work – violation of the purpose) has been filed against them by their employer and more than 30 days have been passed from the date of filing the complaint, the SFD will ensure their departure and they can return to Qatar if they leave the country after accepting the legally prescribed reconciliation,” Capt al-Tairi explained.
“In addition to this, an expatriate whose residence permit has been cancelled and has passed 90 days from its cancellation can also return to Qatar if he leaves the country after accepting the legally prescribed reconciliation. In all cases, the deportation of minors will be without a ban to return to Qatar, regardless of their violation of the provisions of the law, and they are exempted from any legal consequences,” he said.
Capt Mohamed al-Rashid, an official from the Unified Services Department, explained the services provided by the department through the MoI's services centres for violators.
The department provides its services for those who wish to stay inside the country after correcting their status through service centres at Umm Salal, Umm Sunaim (previously the Industrial Area service centre), Musaimeer, Al Wakra and Al Rayyan.
“Among residence permit holders, the target groups are those who have violated the law and have passed 90 days from the expiry date of the residence permit or those against whom a ‘leaving work’ complaint has been filed and they wish to move to another employer," he said adding that the target groups from work visa holders are those who have violated the law while exceeding 90 days from entering the country without issuing a residence permit or against whom a ‘leaving work’ complaint has been filed and wish to stay in the country after correcting their status, provided that the approval should be obtained from the labour department for the same nationality for the new recruiter.
“No application will be accepted from the violator or the person against whom a ‘leaving work’ complaint has been filed after announcing the grace period,” he added.
Explaining the procedures, he said an applicant has to submit the filled-up form in any one of the five service centres. “After verifying the application to ensure compliance with the conditions, the service staff will forward it to the labour department for its decision. The whole process will take only two minutes. In normal cases, the labour department will take its decision on the application within five working days if the application meets all the conditions specified by the authorities concerned,” he explained.
“Submission of the filled designated form for status correction, which is available on the MoI’s website, and a copy of the establishment's registration card for the new employer are the requirements for application for correction,” he said.
Lt Ahmed al-Marri, Technical Affairs officer at the SFD, welcomed the community leaders and introduced them to the services of the department.
“The violators have to approach SFD’s main reception hall along with their passport and an open travel ticket. The staff concerned will verify the data and complete all the necessary procedures within three minutes in normal cases and upon completion, a travel permit is issued to the violating person and handed over to him to go to the airport as per the schedule mentioned in the ticket as an ordinary passenger, while adhering to the Covid-19 precautionary measures followed in the country,” he said.
The working hours of offices at SFD and the five MoI service centres are from 1pm to 6pm, Sunday to Thursday.