Article 18

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Article 18 establishes that each migrant granted an entry visa to Qatar must have a sponsor, and ties migrants’ VISA status and work permit to the sponsor. Migrant workers may only leave the country on submission of an exit permit granted by the residence sponsor. If such permit cannot be obtained due to the sponsor’s refusal to grant, death, or his absence without assigning an agent to replace him, the migrant worker shall assign a departure sponsor, or present a certificate of no sentences being served or lawsuits from the court of jurisdiction.

Notes

The requirement for a worker to obtain an exit permit from his employer prior to departing the country could enable abusive employers to create a barrier to the worker ceasing his employment.

Activists and NGOs point to exit permits as a significant issue, trapping workers in a situation where they cannot leave the country. Exit permits have also been used as a blackmailing tool by employers, to force workers to sign documents stating that they had received all of their due wages, while in reality they had not been paid for months.

This provision has been amended by Law No. 21 of 2015 on the Regulation of the Entry and Exit of Expatriates. Changes will enter into force 1 year after the publication of Law 21/2015, on the 27th of October 2016.

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Article 18. Each Expatriate granted an entry visa to the State of Qatar shall have a sponsor. Save for women sponsored by their husbands, minors and visitors staying thirty days or less, all Expatriates may only leave the country temporarily or permanently on submission of an exit permit granted by the residence sponsor. If such permit cannot be obtained due to the sponsor’s refusal, death, or his absence without assigning an agent to replace him, the Expatriate should assign a departure sponsor, or present a certificate providing that there are no lawsuits  pending against him issued from the court of jurisdiction after the lapse of fifteen days effective as from the date of publishing in two daily newspapers the expected date of the departure of the Expatriate pursuant to the procedures and regulations issued by a Ministerial Decision in accordance with.

Law /Qatar / Law No. 4 of 2009 Regarding Regulation of Expatriates' Entry, Departure, Residence and Sponsorship (the Sponsorship or Kafala Law)

The Sponsorship Law sets out the framework through which expatriate workers are permitted to reside and work in Qatar, restricting their ability to work for an employer other than their sponsor and imposing requirements related to their ability to exit Qatar (such as the requirement to obtain a permit to exit).The sponsorship law has been heavily criticised for establishing a framework that creates conditions under which forced labour can result from the actions of abusive employers. It is expected that the sponsorship system set out in the law will be the subject of reform to address those criticisms.

This Law has been amended by Law No. 21 of 2015 on the Regulation of the Entry and Exit of Expatriates. Changes will enter into force 1 year after the publication of Law 21/2015, on the 27th of October 2016.