Focus Merit

Qatar scraps exit permit for domestic workers

Qatar scrapped mandatory exit permits for migrant domestic staff and other groups, as part of efforts to boost rights for guest workers amid scrutiny of its record. Previously all foreigners working permanently in the gas-rich country required authorisation from bosses to leave, but now only military personnel will routinely require such a dispensation.

It also dropped the exit visa requirements for other foreign workers including civil servants, oil and gas workers, and employees of government bodies including Qatar Airways. The announcement came after Human Rights Watch published it annual report Tuesday, saying Qatari “reforms have not gone far enough, and implementation has been uneven“.

Qatar has made a series of reforms to its employment regulations since being selected to host the 2022 World Cup. Some two million foreigners work in Qatar, many employed directly or indirectly on vast infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup.

Domestic staff must give their employers 72 hours notice before leaving under the new rules. Companies can also designate up to five percent of staff as “responsible” roles, such as those with financial oversight, who will still be required to seek managerial approval to leave.