DOHA: Qatar yesterday reiterated its pledge to put in place a liberal job market and said rules were being changed whereby expatriates would be able to change jobs based on the contract they sign with their employer.
Current exit permit rules would be abolished and the employment contract of a worker would be of supreme importance in the new system.
In the new system, it would suffice for workers to verbally inform their employers and travel overseas, said the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi.
Talking about expatriates changing jobs in the new regime, he reiterated that one would be able to change jobs at the end of one’s contractual period if the contract was for a fixed period.
About open-ended contracts (where a specific period is not mentioned), an expatriate would be able to change jobs only after five years, said the minister. In both cases, workers would not need permission from their employers to change jobs, he stressed.
Al Khulaifi said the draft law containing the proposed changes in sponsorship and exit permit rules for foreign workers was with the authorities for review.
“The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is committed to doing its best to realise the vision of the Emir to create a liberal job market — a market which is free of barriers that hinder effective contribution of the Qatari and expatriate workforce to social and economic growth,” said Al Khulaifi.
The government is busy formulating new criteria for labour camps with a view to ensuring that lodgings for workers here meet global standards.
The labour ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning to put in place new guidelines for labour camps.
Al Khulaifi said a national committee formed earlier with members from different ministries and government agencies had reviewed standards for labour camps.
The review includes recommendations made earlier for building future labour cities, said the minister. He was addressing ‘Doha Dialogue on Migration 2014’ after formally opening it.
The two-day-event is being held by Qatar Red Crescent in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Meanwhile, an official from Qatar Red Crescent told Al Sharq that a huge corpus (fund) will be set up for the welfare of labourers in Qatar. Several prominent business groups like Al Fardan, United Development Company and Chevron Philip have agreed to support this fund.
Present at the conference were QRC President, Dr Mohamed bin Ghanem Al Ali Al Maadheed; ICRC Vice-President, Dr Zhao Baige, top officials, private institutions and corporations, and experts and specialists in migration, law, and labour.
The Ministry of Labour has also increased the number of inspectors from 150 to 200 in the past, and continued to appoint new ones through interviews being conducted by the Inspection Department, the Minister said.
Al Khulaifi said the ministry had been working to develop labour inspection and occupational health and safety through continuous training of inspectors in Qatar or in coordination with International Labour Organisation.