On 10/10/2021, the Ministry of Interior of Qatar announced a grace period for correcting the status of the expatriates who have violated the provisions of the Law No. 21/2015, that regulates the entry, exit and the residence of expatriates in Qatar.
The Ministry in a statement on this occasion also informed that it will be providing all facilities for the beneficiaries of the grace period to correct their legal status while they are inside the country and also for leaving the country to correct their status, if they cannot correct it while they are inside the country.
The first phase of the grace period was from 10th October 2021 – 31st December 2021, and later on, the Ministry of Interior extended it till 31st March 2022, in order to benefit from the 50% reduction in the settlement amount of violations by the company owners as well as the expatriate workers
What is the Objective of the Grace Period?
Legalizing the status of expatriates who stay in the country violating the provisions of the Law No. 21/2015, in accordance with the law and in line with humanitarian standards.
What are the Features of the Grace Period?
The opportunity for correcting the legal status of the violators by allowing them to change the employer in accordance with the regulations recognized for the competent authority, and exempting them from the fines imposed on them.
Exempting violating expatriates who wish to leave the country from legal responsibility without holding them accountable for the violations.
What are the Services offered by the Services Centers of the MoI for the Beneficiaries of the Grace Period?
Five (5) Services Centers of the Ministry of Interior such as 1) Umm Sulal, 2) Umm Sunaim, 3)Musaimeer, 4) Al Wakra and 5)Al Rayyan receive the applications for correcting the status of the violation by transferring from one employer to another employer.
At the same time, 12 Service Centers of the Ministry of Interior such as 1) Al Shamal, 2) Al Khor, 3) Al Dhaen, 4) Umm Salal, 5) Pearl Qatar, 6) Onaiza, 7) Souq Waqif, 8) Rayyan, 9) Umm Sunaim, 10) Shahaniya, 11) Mesaimeer and 12) Wakrah by settlement, issuance and renewal of residence permit under the existing employer.
Who can approach the service centers of the Ministry of Interior for the correcting the status?
Residence Permit holders who have passed 90 days from the expiry date of the residence permit and wish to move to another employer.
Residence Permit holders against whom a ‘leaving work’ complaint has been filed and they wish to move to another employer.
Work visa holders 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.
Work visa holders against whom a ‘Leaving Work’ complaint has been filed and they wish to stay in the country after correcting their status.
1- No application will be accepted from the violator or the person against whom a ‘Leaving Work’ complaint has been filed after announcing the grace period starting from 10/10/2021.
In the cases of work visa holders, for correcting the status, the prior approval should be obtained from the Labor Department for the same nationality on the new recruiter.
What is the Work Mechanism at MoI Services Centers?
The applicant submits the filled form, which is available on the MoI website (moi.gov.qa) in any one of the above-mentioned Service Center of the Ministry of Interior.
The Service Center staff verifies the application to ensure compliance of the application with the conditions and transferring it to the Labor Department for decision. The Labor department within 5 working days will take a decision if all conditions are met.
What are the Required Documents for the Application?
Filling out the designated form for submitting the request to correct the status.
A copy of the establishment's registration card for the new employer.
Verify the legal validity of the new company in to which the applicant would like to transfer the employment before application submission.
Don’t repeat the application on the same company on which your application has been refused in the first time.
Double check the mobile no. you mention in the application form, as the future communication with you will be through that no.
You may approach the MoI Service Center to find out the reason of not getting the reply for your application after enough time from application submission.
What are the Services rendered by the Search and Follow-up Department for the beneficiaries of the Grace Period?
The role of the department is limited to ensuring the departure of the violating expatriates who wish to leave the country voluntarily, in a humanitarian manner, which reflects the pioneering role of the State of Qatar in the field of the protection of the human rights.
The departure of 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.
Who are the beneficiaries of the Services of the Search and Follow Up Department during the Grace Period?
An expatriate who came to Qatar to work and stays in the country violating the law by not obtaining or not renewing the residence permit and has exceeded a period of 90 days, and an absconding complaint hasn’t been filed against him by his employer.
An expatriate who came to Qatar work and stays in the country violating the law and an absconding complaint (Leaving the work / Violation of the purpose) has been filed against him by his employer, but 30 days have not completed from the date of filing the complaint.
Holder of family residence permit and visitors who have violated the period of stay.
An Expatriate who has violated the law No. 21/20215 and an absconding complaint (Leaving the work / Violation of the purpose) has been filed against him and more than 30 days have been passed from the date of filing a complaint against him.
An Expatriate whose residence permit has been cancelled and has passed 90 days from its cancellation.
How the Search and Follow Up Department will deal with these two categories of the violators?
The departure of these two categories of the viola violating will be ensured, while they will be exempted from all consequences of legal responsibility and they can return to Qatar on another visa.
How the Search and Follow Up Department will deal with these two three categories of the violators?
Procedure: The departure of these three categories of the violators will be ensured and they can return to Qatar if they leave Qatar after accepting the legally recommended reconciliation amount.
Note: 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.
What is the work mechanism at Search and Follow Up Department?
The violating person approaches the main reception hall at the Search and Follow-up Department along with his passport + an open travel ticket.
The concerned staff verifies the data and if all procedures are correct, he hands over a travel permit to the violating person with the travel date and the applicant has to leave the country on the date mentioned in the ticket as a ordinary passenger. He should be adhering to the Covid-19 precautionary measures followed by Qatar as well as the destination country.
What is the time taken for completing the procedures at MoI Service Center as well as Search and Follow Up Department and what is the working hours?
Only 3 minutes from 1 pm - 6 pm from Sunday – Thursday.
Guidelines for taking maximum benefits of grace period
Persons whose status has not been legalized by changing the employer during the given period due to their failure to obtain approval from the Labour Department for not meeting the required legal conditions; We call upon them to contact the Search and Follow Up Department Center to complete their procedures in accordance with the provisions of the law, as the purpose of their stay in the country has ended, and In this case, they have to leave the country soon and take advantage of the facilities granted during this period before its expiry and return again to Qatar according to the procedures and conditions established by law.
Persons wishing to leave the country during the grace period must observe the following:
Adherence to the precautionary measures related to the travel policy of the destination country when leaving from Qatar, as there were some problems related to vaccination and quarantine specified at the intended travel destination.
Adhere to the travel date mentioned in the ticket by the Search and Follow Up Department and if the beneficiary couldn’t travel on the mentioned date, he has to reissue a new travel permit before his travel from the Search and Follow Up Department, while the department normally fixes any date for the travel within 10 days from the date of travel permit issuance.
Avoid delaying and procrastination until the last week of the grace period to avoid delays in their transactions due to the possibility of some restrictions imposed against them without their knowledge that prevent their departure before 31st of March 2022.