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Qatar lifts controversial Exit Visa system for workers

Published on: 5:49 pm - Wednesday | September 5, 2018

Qatar amended its residency laws on Tuesday (Sep 4) to allow foreign workers to leave the country without exit permits from their employers.

There are some two million foreign workers in Qatar, many employed directly or indirectly on vast infrastructure projects for the football World Cup, which will take place in the emirate in 2022.

Under Law No. 13, only a maximum five percent of each company’s workforce — thought to be those in the most senior positions — will still need permission to leave Qatar.

Doha is keen to show it is tackling allegations of worker exploitation as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, which it has presented as a showcase of its progress and development.

Labour rights groups have been pushing for the provision for long time.

Most migrant workers would be able to leave the country without having to obtain permits from their employers under the law, said the International Labour Organization in a statement via its Doha office.

The ILO hailed the move as a “significant step” for gas-rich Qatar, which committed last year to introducing sweeping labour reforms, including changes to the exit visa system.

“The ILO welcomes the enactment of Law No. 13, which will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of migrant workers in Qatar,” said Houtan Homayounpour, the head of the ILO office in Doha, which was set up in April.

The official Qatar News Agency confirmed the adoption of Law No. 13, saying it amended “certain provisions” of previous laws regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates. It did not specify which provisions or offer details on the changes.

Source: The Economic Times

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