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11 Jan 2021


Qatar: Months after labour reforms implemented, worker mobility curtailed by employer paperwork, say NGO

"A de facto NOC in Qatar?," 10 Jan 2021

Migrant-Rights.org (MR) has spoken to dozens of workers seeking to change jobs and provided them with guidance on the procedures. Initially, these procedures were simple and straightforward...

The reasons for rejection that we encountered either owed to cases filed by the current employer (such as absconding or theft) or because the potential new employer has pending cases.

In the first few weeks after the reforms came into effect, many workers did manage to secure a job change...

there has been a concerted and vocal backlash against the reforms from citizens, primarily those who run small and medium enterprises...

Some of the concerns raised were valid, particularly about the difficulty in recruiting new workers from abroad within the one-month notice period, given the ongoing pandemic-related travel restrictions... But many of the complaints were about how bigger companies that can afford to pay more will poach workers from smaller businesses...

The Head of the ILO Project Office in Qatar, Houtan Homayounpour, told Migrant-Rights org that "the process at ADLSA to change jobs in Qatar does not require an actual resignation letter, however, dialogue between workers and employers is fundamentally important...”

... the resignation letter requirement, though not law, is fast becoming the norm... This may well result in a NOC-like situation, as employers can (and do, based on cases brought to our attention) refuse to sign or stamp the resignation letter as proof of acceptance. The reform then becomes ineffective.

Furthermore, the e-notice site is difficult to access at most times...

A worker now has to show a paper trail (which requires several stamps and approvals from the current employer) and attempt to change jobs by applying physically at labour offices.