Doha (26/1/2022). The Search and Follow Up Dept. and Unified Services Dept. under the Ministry of Interior called upon the violators of the provisions of Law No. (21) for the year 2015, regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, to utilize the grace period for correcting their status as early as possible before its ending on 31st March 2022.
Speaking to the media representatives at the headquarters of the Search and Follow Up Department today evening, grace period officers Capt. Kamal Tahir Al Tairi from the Search and Follow Up Dept. and Capt. Muhammed Ali Al Rashid from the Unified Services Dept. said that the Ministry of Interior has extended the grace period announced from 10th October to 31st December 2021 to 31st March 2022, as part of its keenness to consider the interests of company owners and expatriate workers, to benefit from the 50% reduction in the violation settlement amount. The Ministry has provided all facilities for the violators to correct their legal status while they are inside the country by transferring from one employer to another or by leaving the country on their own interest with exempting them from all consequences of legal responsibility, they added.
Guidelines for Taking Advantage of Grace Period
Capt. Kamal urged the residency law violators to benefit from the advantages granted during the period and cooperate with the competent authorities in implementing the prescribed legal procedures and not to delay or procrastinate in completing the procedures in advance.
He also called upon the persons whose status has not been legalized by changing the employer during the given period due to the failure to obtain approval from the competent authority because of not meeting the required legal conditions; to contact the relevant authorities, to complete their procedures in accordance with the provisions of the law, as the purpose of their stay in the country has ended, in order to leave the country soon and take the advantage of the facilities granted during this period before its expiry and return again to the country according to the procedures and conditions established by law.
He also urged the persons wishing to leave the country upon their interest during the grace period, to adhere to the precautionary measures related to the travel policy of the destination country when leaving the country, as there were some problems related to vaccination and quarantine specified at the intended travel destination and also to follow the time limit of ten days from the date of issuing the travel permit, set for travel by the Search and Follow-up Department when completing the departure procedures.
For those who wish to leave the country, approaching the Search and Follow Up Department early as possible before ending of the grace period on 31st March is very important to avoid delays in their transactions due to the possibility of some restrictions imposed against them without their knowledge that may prevent their travel, so that they can settle it and leave without hindrance within the prescribed period, the grace period officer added.
Services Rendered by the Search and Follow Up Department
Speaking on the features of the Grace Period, Capt. Al Tairi said that the current grace period is distinctive from the previous one as it gives the opportunity for the violators for correcting their legal status by allowing them to change the employer in accordance with the regulations recognized by the competent authority, and exempting 50% of the fines imposed on them. In addition to this, it also exempts violating expatriates who wish to leave the country on their own interest from legal responsibility.
“The role of the Search and Follow Up Department is limited to ensuring the departure of the violating expatriates who wish to leave the country voluntarily, in a humane manner. It reflects the pioneering role of the State of Qatar in the field of human rights. The departure of violating expats is secured by exempting them from the fines incurred by them and without bearing any responsibility, and their transaction is completed as quickly and smoothly as possible without any delay,” said the grace period officer Capt. Kamal Al Tairi.
Target Groups of the Search and Follow Up Dept.
1- The expatriates who came to Qatar for work and stay in the country violating the residency law by not obtaining or not renewing the residence permit within the prescribed period and who have exceeded a period of 90 days from the validity date, and their employers haven’t filed an absconding complaint against them.
2- The expatriates who came to Qatar for work and stay in the country violating the law and an absconding complaint (Leaving the work – Violation of the purpose) has been filed against them by the employers, but 30 days have not completed from the date of filing the complaint.
According to the procedure in the above two cases, the Search and Follow Up Department will ensure the departure of the violators after exempting them from all consequences of legal responsibility and they can return to Qatar on another visa.
3- Family residence permit holders and visitors who have violated the period of stay.
4- The expatriates who have violated the law and an absconding complaint (Leaving the work – Violation of the purpose) has been filed against them and more than 30 days have been passed from the date of complaint filing.
5- The expatriates whose residence permits have been cancelled and have passed 90 days from the date of cancellation.
The procedure in the above three cases, the Search and Follow Up Dept. will ensure the departure of the violators, while they can return to Qatar if they leave the country after accepting the legally recommended reconciliation.
In all cases, the deportation of the minors under the age of 18 will be without a ban to return to Qatar, regardless of their violation of the provisions of the law, and they are exempted from any legal consequences.
Explaining about the services rendered for the grace period beneficiaries at Search and Follow Up Dept., Capt. Kamal said that the violating expatriates have to approach the main reception of the Search and Follow-up Department with his passport and an open ticket and the concerned staff will verify the data and complete all the necessary procedures, and upon completion of them, a travel permit is issued to the violating person and hands it over to him to go to the airport as per the schedule mentioned in the ticket as an ordinary passenger. He should be adhering to the Covid – 19 precautionary measures followed by Qatar as well as his destination country. Our service is faster and easier and the whole procedure at our department will not be taking more than three minutes and we receive the applicants from 1 pm - 6 pm from Sunday – Thursday, he added.
Services Rendered by the Unified Services Department of the Ministry of Interior for the Grace Period Beneficiaries
Explaining the services offered by the Service Centers of the Ministry of Interior for the grace period beneficiaries to the media, Capt. Muhammed Ali Al Rashid said that the violating expatriate employees and workers willing to transfer from one employer to another shall submit their application at any one of the services centres of the Ministry of Interior in Umm Salal, Al Rayyan, Mesaimeer, Al Wakra or Umm Senaim from 1.00 PM until 6.00 PM from Sunday to Thursday.
The settlement applications for issuance and renewal of the residence permit under the existing employer shall be submitted at any one of the service centres of the Ministry of Interior in Al Shamal, Al Khor, Al Daayen, Umm Salal, The Pearl, Onaiza, Souq Waqif, Al Rayyan, Umm Senaim, Al Shahaniya, Mesaimeer, Al Wakra and Dukhan during the official working hours. The beneficiaries of the grace period from the company employees and workers can get a 50% discount during the grace period in the violation amount.
Target Groups of the Unified Services Department from the Residence Permit holders
1- Residence Permit holders (who have violated the Law No. (21) of 2015 that regulates the entry, exit and residence of expatriates) who have passed 90 days from the expiry date of the residence permit and wish to move to another employer.
2. Residence Permit holders (who have violated the Law No. (21) of 2015 that regulates the entry, exit and residence of expatriates)، against whom a ‘leaving work’ complaint has been filed and they wish to move to another employer.
Target Groups of the Unified Services Department from the Work Visa holders
1- Holders of work visas (who have violated the Law No. (21) of 2015 that regulates the entry, exit and residence of expatriates) who have exceeded 90 days from entering the country without issuing a residence permit and wish to stay in the country after correcting their status, provided that the approval should be obtained from the Labor Department for the same nationality on the new recruiter (VP).
2- Holders of work visas (who have violated the Law No. (21) of 2015 that regulates the entry, exit and residence of expatriates), against whom ‘Leaving Work’ complaint has been filed and they wish to stay in the country after correcting their status, provided that the approval should be obtained from the Labor Department for the same nationality on the new recruiter (VP).
In this category, the Ministry of Interior will not be accepting any application from the violator or the person against whom a ‘Leaving Work’ complaint has been filed after announcing the grace period on 10/10/2021.
Procedure at MoI Service Center
Explaining the procedure at Service Centers of the Ministry of Interior, Capt. Al Rashid said that the applicant has to come to any one of the 5 Service Centers with concerned filled form available at the website of the Ministry of Interior www.moi.gov.qa along with a copy of the establishment's registration card for the new employer. The concerned staff will verify the application to ensure compliance of the application with the conditions and will transfer it to the Labor Department for their decision. In normal cases, the decision will be taken on the application within 5 working days if all the conditions specified by the concerned authorities are met. The time required for submitting the application at MoI Service Centers does not exceed two minutes, he mentioned.
The Ministry of Interior urges the employers and expatriates to adhere to this period to benefit from the settlement to legalize their status and avoid legal procedures against them for not legitimizing their status.