KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Qatar has removed the powers of employers to ban the vast majority of migrant workers – those covered by the country’s Labor Law - from leaving the country. Qatar’s new law partially scrapping the ‘exit permit’ that prevented migrant workers from leaving the country without their employer’s permission is an important first step towards dismantling its exploitative sponsorship system.
However, the Qatari government needs to fully reform the notorious ‘kafala’ sponsorship system as construction accelerates ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup. While Law No.13 of 2018 does not cover workers who fall outside of Qatar‘s Labour Law, such as the country’s 174,000 domestic workers, the new law states that the regulations and procedures regarding this category of workers will be outlined in a future ministerial decision.
Law No. 13 of 2018, issued by the Emir of Qatar, removes the powers of employers to ban the vast majority of migrant workers – those covered by the country’s Labour Law - from leaving the country.
The new law means the vast majority of the country’s 1.9 million migrant workers are now free to leave the country without permission from the employer. Qatar is the second popular destination for Nepali migrant worker after Malaysia. Around four hundred thousand Nepali are currently working in Qatar.
According to Qatar's Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, there are more than 1.9 million migrant workers in the country – about 90% of the country’s total population – mainly from South and South East Asian countries including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Bangladesh. Many are working on infrastructure projects linked to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.