QATAR: New Immigration Law

December 23, 2015

New Immigration Laws in Qatar are being put forward in order to regulate the entry, exit and residency of expatriates in the region. Whilst there is no fixed implementation date for these policy changes as of yet, reports suggest that they are likely to be introduced towards the end of 2016.

The majority of these changes pertain to the obligations of expatriate employees in Qatar, which will be of importance to employers with an expatriate workforce.

One such change is that the period in which an expatriate employee should now be issued with their residence permit after entering Qatar, is set to be extended to 30 days from seven days. 30 days is also the maximum stay an expatriate employee can remain in Qatar before they are required to obtain a residence permit.

When an expatriate employee leaves Qatar, the New Immigration Law states that their employer must inform the Ministry of Interior three days prior to their exit.

The new rules offer more clarity regarding legally permitted activities. Specifically, the New Immigration Law states that an employer is not allowed to retain an employee”s passport or travel document after it has been used to apply for or renew a visa, with penalties being introduced for employers who breach this rule. 

Expats holding valid residence permits who give birth to their children whilst in Qatar now have 90 days from the date of birth, or from the child”s entry into Qatar, to apply for residency for that child. This is an extension from the 60 day period under the current rules.

Further details of these rules will be provided when they come into effect.