Qatar - New Qatari law is not changing the substantial situation of migrant workers not allowed to repatriate

Qatar has denied many immigrant workers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh the ability to return home, despite a new law that was approved in December 2016 with the aim of improving labour rights. The new law was supposed to make it easier to change employment or leave the Gulf state than under the previously system of kafala law, or sponsorship, which required requesting the employer’s authorization to change employment or leave the country.

Nonetheless, trade unionists and activists have denounced the fact that an exit permit from the Government is still required in order to leave the state and more than a quarter of the 760 permits requested have been denied. According to the data reported by the State-run Qatar News Agency, the newly established Exit Permit Grievances Committee rejected 213 requests made up until 15 February 2017, but no reason was provided for the denial of the requests.

A further confirmation of the unchanged nature of things in the Gulf State is the very recent episode of a Nepali migrant worker found dead by his brother. Mr. Ram Sharan Mandal, aged 40, resident in Jaleshowor Municipality, was ill and asked for permission to leave the state in order to go back to his homeland to receive adequate treatment and assistance. Nonetheless, the permission was postponed and on 16 April he was overcome by his illness and died.

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