What is the change? Qatar approved a law last month that will abolish the current exit visa requirement for foreign nationals.

What does the change mean? Employees and their sponsoring employers will no longer need to file for exit visas and seek government permission for employees leaving Qatar; however, the implementation date is yet to be announced by the Qatari government.

  • Implementation time frame: To be determined.
  • Visas/permits affected: Exit visas for most foreign employees.
  • Business impact: Employers will benefit from ease of movement for employees.

Background: On Sept. 6, Qatar’s Ministry of Interior announced that it has approved Law No. (13) for year 2018, which will amend Article 7 of Law No. (21) for year 2015, which regulates the entry, exit and residence of expatriates. Once the law goes into effect, the government will no longer require employers of foreign workers to notify the government and apply for an exit permit, and foreign nationals will be able to leave the country directly without producing a leave notification or permission form from their employer. The law, however, states that a company can still identify critical employees—less than 5 percent of employees in a company—who may still need permission from their employers before departing Qatar.

The government has not yet announced an implementation date, and until the law goes into effect, all males over the age of 18 need to obtain an exit permit before leaving Qatar, regardless of their sponsorship status, and the sponsoring company is required to obtain the exit permits for employees.

Analysis & Comments: The Qatari government’s approval to abolish exit permits has been received as a welcome change that will allow foreign nationals increased freedom of movement and reduce the administrative burden on sponsoring companies. Employees will be able to depart Qatar for business or personal reasons without having to go through the exit visa procedure. Additional information on the implementation date will be provided as it becomes available.

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.