Qatar: Curiosity – No-Objection Certificate Required to Change Jobs
Employees without NOCs are banned from Qatar for two years
Foreigners working in Qatar must comply with the country’s strict sponsorship system. Employees of private companies may not work for anyone other than their Qatari sponsor, and their residence and employment permits depend on their sponsoring entity.
In case an employee wishes to change jobs, transfer of sponsorship must be arranged based on a no-objection certificate granted by the sponsoring company. The certificate, known as a NOC, frees the employee from any obligations towards the previous employer and allows the person to find a new job and a new sponsor.
A company, however, is under no legal obligation to grant a NOC, and in many cases declines to do so. Employees either continue working at the company against their will or leave the job and face a two-year work ban. The work ban is imposed on the foreigner by the Ministry of Labor. During the time of the ban the individual is not allowed to work in Qatar and must leave the country. During the duration of the two year ban, they may not re-enter Qatar on any type of visitor visa, not even for the purpose of tourism.
Since the NOC is not described in Qatar’s labor law, individuals are in every case dependent on the goodwill of an employer. Foreigners who are refused a NOC have the option to file a complaint at the Human Rights Committee of Qatar, however, due to the large number of complaints, only a few cases are actually reviewed.
The government of Qatar is aware of the system’s restrictions and has proposed to reduce the two-year ban period to six months. Qatar’s sponsorship system is also likely to change in view of the 2022 World Cup, which will require thousands of human resources and trained workforce.
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