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1 Sep 2020

Migrant Rights

Qatar reforms: Greater job mobility and higher minimum wage

Qatar has announced two significant reforms, one of which loosens the stranglehold sponsors (kafeels) have over workers’ mobility in the labour market. The other is a non-discriminatory minimum wage...The minimum wage (Law No 17 of 2020 on Setting the Minimum Wage for Workers and Domestic workers) for all workers regardless of sector or nationality is now QR1000 basic pay, replacing the temporary minimum wage of QR750. If the employer does not provide food or housing, allowances of QR300 and QR500 respectively must be paid in addition to the basic wage, totalling a minimum of QR1800. All overtime and leave calculation will be based on the basic wage. While all new contracts will require the new minimum wage, employers will be given time to transition old contracts over the next six months..By far the most significant reform to date is the removal of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to change jobs. The removal of NOC comes into force almost immediately, as soon as it is gazetted...Employees will be able to change employers at any time during their contract. However, if the change occurs within the probation period (which cannot exceed six months), then the new employer will have to reimburse recruitment costs to the previous employer. The reimbursement cannot exceed the basic pay of two months and does not apply to those who are recruited locally. The fee is reimbursable only for those recruited to work in Qatar for the first time.

Migrant-Rights.org welcomes the announcement and recognises the potential for positive impact on the lives of workers in the country. The removal of NOC and terms associated with it are a first for the region. Only two countries in the GCC currently have a minimum wage – Kuwait and Qatar.
It is critical that these reforms are followed by stringent implementation and prosecution of those who fail to comply.