Illegal residents in Qatar are being given a three-month grace period to leave the country without “legal consequences” ahead of the introduction of changes to the country’s labour laws.
The grace period is the first in Qatar in more than a decade, according to local reports.
The Ministry of Interior said yesterday that illegal residents could report to the Search & Follow Up department between September 1 and December 1 to arrange their exit from the country.
Expatriates are currently permitted from working in Qatar without a visa and can only switch jobs or leave the country with approval from their employer.
Many of the country’s illegal residents are domestic workers who have absconded from their employer.
However, amendments to Qatar’s kafala sponsorship system will mean permission for changing jobs or exiting the country will instead be needed from the government.
The changes, which are expected to take effect on December 14, have a received mixed reception since being announced.
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Human rights organisations, which have heavily criticised the kafala system, say they do not go far enough in ensuring workers’ rights.