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Exit Permits and the New Law

What are the implications for Business' and new companies with the New Law

Consider this: Mr Ronnie Fernandez gets a call from his home in the Philippines on Thursday evening. He is needed home for a family emergency. If it was a month ago, Mr Ronnie may have to wait until Sunday for an exit permit from his sponsor to board a plane to the Philippines. But now, thanks to a few crucial changes made to the laws of the land, Mr Ronnie can catch the first flight home.

The amendment of the entry and exit law is seen as a significant step towards safeguarding the interest of expatriates in Qatar. The new rules have specific provisions that allow expatriates to leave the country without the need for an exit permit from their respective employers.

Law No. 13 was officially signed on September 4, 2018, by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The International Labour Organisation has applauded this step, stating the move will render a positive impact on all expats while ensuring their protection.

That one of the richest countries in the world is putting the welfare of its workers in the fore is a welcome move.

Why have the amendments to Law No.13 occurred?

With the kick off of the FIFA World Cup around the corner, this amendment could bring a sea change in Qatar's image. With the removal of the Kafala system, the amendment to Law No.13 is expected to show that the country is progressing toward ensuring expatriate workers in Qatar are protected.

As per the new law, expected to be enforced from the 28th October 2018, most employees are no longer required to obtain permission to exit the country. However, the law does have a provision stating that an employer can register some employees that still require an exit permit, for security purposes, as long as the number of employees does not exceed 5% of the total workforce.

While the amendment has taken some time to come to fruition, it is one of the many steps taken by Qatar to restore the rights of workers in recent times. Earlier this year, the country endorsed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect freedom of movement, along with signing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to assure decent working conditions for its workers. People from different expat communities have commended the move. The Coordinator of the Nepalese Expatriate community congratulated the government on this very important labour reform, speaking in support of the provision on the 5 percent employees who would still require exit permits from their employers, even in the new regime.

Change is good

The simplification of this process will mean saving money, time and effort for both parties, with many in the expatriate community, understanding that the requirement for a 5% maximum is crucial in protecting the rights of some companies with Qatar. The clause, therefore, seeks to offer Qatari companies a certain degree of security as well. At BBMS, our experts with local experience and global expertise can help navigate your business or work-related queries as an expat in Qatar. We offer services relating to company registration and PRO services, acting as a safe and secure corporate Qatari local partner. Armed with this change, the new system has garnered a positive response from people across all walks of life and Qatar is set towards building a strong infrastructure with regards to its workforce and adherence to fair labour laws.

For more details on how we can assist your business in Qatar, please reach out to us at

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