What is the change? Qatar has ended the country’s old exit visa requirements.

What does the change mean? In most cases, foreign employees and their sponsoring employers no longer need to file for exit visas and seek government permission before employees leave Qatar. Employers will, however, be allowed to identify employees who will still be required to obtain permission before leaving the country. The number of employees requiring permission cannot exceed 5 percent of a company’s foreign workforce.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The changes took effect Sunday.
  • Visas/permits affected: Exit visas for foreign employees.
  • Impact on processing times: Delays with the new system are possible during the first few days of implementation, but officials have said they will work to resolve any problems as soon as possible.
  • Business impact: Employers will generally benefit from ease of movement for employees; they will also be able to continue requiring a small number of employees to obtain permission before leaving the country.

Background: Qatari officials announced the abolishment of current exit visa requirements last month. In addition, they also have made clear that employers will be permitted to continue requiring some employees (no more than 5 percent of their workforce) to obtain permission before leaving the country because of the nature of their work.

Analysis & Comments: The government’s move to abolish exit permits is a welcome change that will provide foreign nationals increased freedom of movement and reduce the administrative burden on sponsoring companies. Employees are now able to depart Qatar for business or personal reasons without having to go through the exit visa procedure. Employers will also benefit from the ease of movement while continuing to be able to require permission to leave from some critical employees.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.