Removal of exit permits to leave Qatar

News | 20 August 2020
The departure lounge of Hamad International Airport, Doha
DOHA (ILO News) - Almost all migrant workers are now able to leave Qatar without first obtaining permission from their employers.

On 4 September 2018, changes made to the law regulating the entry and exit of expatriates removed the need for the majority of workers in private companies in Qatar to obtain an exit permit to leave the country either temporarily or permanently.

On 16 January 2020, a Ministerial Decision came into force, removing exit permit requirements for workers not covered by the 2018 law namely: domestic workers; workers in government and public institutions; workers employed in the oil and gas sector and workers employed at sea and in agriculture and grazing.

Exit permit requirements remain in place for members of the armed forces and for a maximum of 5 % of the total workforce per company, under strict conditions.

The removal of exit permit requirements coupled with the ending of the requirement for migrant workers to obtain their employer’s permission to change jobs, effectively dismantles the “kafala” sponsorship system and marks the beginning of a new era for the Qatari labour market.

The ILO has worked closely with Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs and with employers’ and workers’ organizations to support the adoption of laws, policies and procedures relating to exit permits and will continue to support reforms for the full abolishment of exit permits for all workers in Qatar. Further support is also being provided for the implementation and enforcement of the new law and Decision.