New residency laws are to be introduced in early 2010 that impose new regulations on expats living in Qatar.
Under the new laws, employers will be legally required to return passports and any other legal documents to their workers. Any employer who fails to do so will face serious penalties and workers are being encouraged to report any cases where employers refuse to return legal documents to the police. The law is being introduced in response to complaints that employers are withholding worker’s documents in order to prevent them from leaving the country.
In addition to this Col Fahad bin Nasser al Nuaimi, director of the Expatriates Affairs Department, has also disclosed that Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is also considering imposing stricter regulations determining the employment of domestic workers by expatriates living in Qatar. Expatriates will no longer be permitted to employ helpers who are of the same nationality as themselves: “Same nationality for domestic helpers is not allowed, because experience tells us that in most cases, they are just bringing their own relatives,” Al Nuaimi said.
Col Fahad bin Nasser al Nuaimi also reminded expatriates that they should abide by Qatari laws at all times, citing drunkenness and gambling as being two offences for which expatriates are commonly prosecuted. He went on to describe several rules that are being enforced by police in order to uphold law and order and maintain low crime levels throughout the country.
Further changes to the laws will see a change from expatriate reporting requirements. At present expatriates are required to report to the Qatari Medical Commission within 90 days of entering Qatar. This will be changed to just seven days. In addition to this, expatriates whose residence permits have been cancelled will be required to leave the country within 90 days.
New residence law will be fully outlined through the ministry’s website www.moi.gov.qa and local newspapers within the next two months.
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