IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Qatar will implement reforms to the kafala system for companies employing foreign nationals beginning Dec. 14.
What does the change mean? The reforms loosen some of the strict control that employers exercise over foreign employees under the current system. The main changes will relax requirements that foreign employees obtain a former employer’s approval when changing jobs, prohibit employers from holding foreign employees’ passports, and allow foreign workers to apply directly with authorities for exit permits to leave the country.
Background: Qatar’s kafala system that controls employment of foreign nationals has been criticized as giving excessive control to employers over employees’ movement and job choices. Under the current system, a foreign employee who wants to change jobs must obtain a non-objection certificate from the former employer. Foreign employees must also get the employer’s approval to leave the country.
Among the key changes:
B·A·L Analysis: The reforms give greater flexibility to foreign national employees, as well as to U.S. defense contractors who are required to work with local sponsors to employ foreign workers. The new rules will relax some of the control that local sponsors currently have over defense contractor personnel. BAL will update clients as additional details clarify areas of ambiguity in the implementation of the new system.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Qatar. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.
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