*Qatar announces 3 reforms in work and residency laws
*Temporary work visas for up to six months to be issued
*20% reduction in fees when MoI's services availed online
Sons of expatriates in Qatar would soon be able to work in the private sector without changing their family sponsorship, according to a new proposal announced by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA).
Two more proposals - granting of temporary work visas in some professions for up to six months and reducing the fees for MoI's online services by 20% - were also announced at a press conference held at the Officers Club of the General Directorate of Civil Defence Wednesday.
These measures, which pertain to work and residency permits and the country's labour market, will be implemented soon.
The press conference was addressed by Maj Gen Mohamed Ahmed al-Ateeq, Director-General of Passports; Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidli, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the MADLSA; and Lt Col Ahmed Abdullah al-Harami, Assistant Director of the MoI's Legal Affairs Department.
Maj Gen al-Ateeq said the first measure was based on Qatar's intentions regarding the utilisation of the work capacities of the sons of expatriate residents in the country. He noted that several proposals were studied in co-ordination with the relevant authorities on how to use the work capacities of the sons of residents in various fields of work in the private sector without being obliged to transfer their sponsorship to those bodies. Accordingly, it was decided to take legislative measures to implement the proposal in view of its advantages.
The official said work was under way to develop a legislative tool for this proposal through an amendment of Article 17 of Law No. 21 of 2015.
The amendment will allow all members of expatriate families to work with any employer in the private sector without changing their sponsorship, Maj Gen al-Ateeq explained. Currently, only the daughters of expatriates are allowed to work with any employer while being under the sponsorship of their family.
On the introduction of a new temporary work visa in some professions and jobs, the official said this visa will be granted to private companies, commercial establishments and other licensed work entities in the State to allow them to undertake emergency, temporary or seasonal work that requires the workforce for a specific period, season or occasion.
Meanwhile, the proposal to reduce the fees for services rendered and completed electronically comes within the framework of the MoI’s policy of facilitating procedures and offering services to beneficiaries in the best way possible, he stressed.
"The MoI is looking to achieve its goal of becoming paperless by developing electronic systems and high-quality automated programmes. The e-government system, MoI website and Metrash2 help people complete applications faster and accurately with minimum effort,” he said, adding that the 20% fee reduction is aimed at drawing applicants to avail of the ministry's services without visiting the government services centres.
On his part, al-Obaidly said the proposal to allow the sons of expatriates to work in the private sector without changing their sponsorship has a number of advantages that will positively reflect on the labour market and all sections of the Qatari society, including both citizens and residents, by utilising this untapped workforce. This will also help achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals and realise the country's development strategies.
He said these benefits include recruitment of the surplus workforce in the labour market, reducing the cost of recruitment and housing expenses for the employer, benefiting from the familiarity of such individuals with the customs and traditions of the Qatari society and the possibility of utilising their qualifications and competencies to work temporarily or permanently under internal employment contracts in private companies.
Among the conditions for allowing family members to work in accordance with the current proposal is a written approval by the head of the family and obtaining a work permit from the competent authority at the MADLSA after paying the required fees, he explained.
With regard to the issuance of temporary work visas to accommodate the needs of the labour market in some professions and temporary jobs and facilitate and diversify the recruitment process for employers and companies, the MADLSA official said the proposal was studied with a view to creating a suitable environment for domestic and foreign investment. There was also co-ordination between the authorities concerned at the MoI, MADLSA and the relevant authorities, upon which it was agreed to put in place guidelines, conditions and requirements for this visa and determine the duration and fees.
Al-Obaidli said the issuance of the proposed visa will only be considered by the competent authorities when the relevant department at the MADLSA confirms the existence of a (temporary) employment contract between the worker and the employer in accordance with what is needed in such cases, and in line with the provisions of Labour Law No. 14 of 2004 and its amendments and resolutions implementing it.
He said the contract will be reviewed and approved in a manner that does not contravene an offer of work submitted to the worker, as well as passing the necessary medical examination through the Qatar Visa Centres located abroad. In case such centres do not exist in the country of the worker, such a person is required to carry out these procedures immediately upon entering Qatar in the same way as other categories of expatriate workers do in accordance with the applicable procedures.
Meanwhile, Lt Col al-Harami asserted that these proposals have been studied and completed and work is under way to develop a legal tool and legislative procedures to finalise it and then complete the procedures for their application.
(With inputs from QNA)