Articles 21 – 23



Abuse of vulnerability Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Immigration status

Articles 21 to 23 establish the conditions under which migrant workers (non-Qatari citizens) may change employers.

Article 21 requires the approval of both the employer and an authority within the Ministry of Labour for a foreign worker to transfer to another employment before the end of the work contract.  For workers with fixed term contratcs, their residence permit may be transferred to another employer immediately upon the expiry of the work contract. Expatriate workers with permanent contracts may change employers after five years in continuos employment, and subject to obtaining approval from the employer and the Ministry.

The Minister may approve the temporary transfer of employment of an expatriate worker if there is a pending lawsuit between the worker and the employer. In addition to this, the Minister may approve the transfer of the expatriate to another employer in the event of abuse by the employer or if deemed to be in the public interest.

Article 23 prohibits employers from allowing the workers recruited by them to be employed by anyone else, and from employing foreign workers who were not recruited by them. The competent authority may  authorize a recruiter to let an expatriate worker recruited by him work for another employer for up to six months, which may be renewed for another six months. The competent authority, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Labour, may also grant a foreign worker permission to work for another employer different of his recruiter, outside the regular working hours of his original employment, provided that his recruiter agrees to it in writing.


Under article 38, employers who allow employees originally recruited by them to work for other parties without prior official approval, may be subjected to up to three years´imprisonment and a fine.

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Law / 27 October 2015 /Qatar / Law No. 21 of 2015 on the Regulation of the Entry and Exit of Expatriates

Law No. 21 of 2015 on the Regulation of the Entry and Exit of Expatriates amended Law No. 4 of 2009 (the Sponsorship or Kafala Law) and made a number of changes to the Kafala or sponsorship system in Qatar. This law will enter into force 1 year after its publication, on the 27th of October 2016.

This law sets out the conditions for the entry and exit of expatriates into / out of  the State of Qatar (Articles 2-7); for the residence of expatriates (Articles 8-16); regulates the recruitment of foreign workers (Articles 17-20); establishes the requirements for changing employers (Articles 21-23);  the conditions for the deportation and repatriation of foreign workers (Articles 24-28); and the penalties for the violation of certain provisions of the law (Articles 38-41).

The main reforms include the establishment of a new system to appeal refused exit permits before the Ministry of Interior if the sponsor objects to the worker’s exit. Under this law the employer continues to play a significant role in regulating the departure of employees. Under Law No. 21 of 2015, instead of directly requesting the sponsor for approval, foreign workers who wish to leave the country must inform the Ministry of Interior at least three business days before their exit. The Ministry would then wait for the sponsor’s approval or objection before permitting the exit.

With regards to the no-objection certificate, Law No. 4 of 2009  states that expats could not return to work in Qatar for two years after their contract ended unless they had their sponsor’s approval. With this new law, upon completion of fixed contracts, foreign workers will not have to leave the country and will no longer need their sponsor’s approval before taking up another job. Previously, workers had to wait two years in order to return to Qatar to work again, if their employer refused to grant a no objection certificate to change jobs.

For the purpose of this law, an expatriate is any non-Qatari person entering the State for the purpose of work, residence, visit, or any other purpose. A recruiter is any entity, employer, head of family, or host, who recruits an expatriate or to whom responsibility for the expatriate’s residence is transferred in accordance with the provisions of the law.