Expats need not obtain their bosses’ permission anymore to leave the country – A long-awaited reform of Qatar’s controversial exit visa system came into force today.
“Law No. 13 of 2018 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates are being implemented starting today,” the interior ministry announced on Twitter.
Qatar announced in September it had approved legislation to scrap the visa system — a lynchpin of the country’s “kafala”, or sponsorship, system which many liken to modern-day slavery.
Under the new law, all but five per cent of a company’s workforce — reportedly those in the most senior positions — can leave without prior permission from employers.
Those not allowed to leave Qatar “for any reason” can file a complaint to the Expatriate Exit Grievance Committee that will “take a decision within three working days”, the ministry said.
Scrapping the exit permit is the biggest announcement made so far since Qatar agreed on last November to enter into a three-year agreement with the UN’s International Labour Organisation to oversee reform.
The football World Cup 2022 host has come under intense pressure to reform its labour laws, which have been repeatedly denounced by human rights groups.
Critics have long argued for the abolition of the exit visa system.
Research published last year by rights group Migrant-Rights.org found around a quarter of all exit visa requests were denied by the government.
There are some two million foreign workers in Qatar.
Source Credit: NDTV