Update on Exit Permits in the GCC: Qatar, Oman & the UAE
Looking for up-to-date info on exit permits in Qatar, Oman and the UAE? You’ve come to the right place. Here, you can find essential info regarding exit permits and restrictions that may affect you as an expat living and working here in the GCC.
Back in September 2018, Qatar abolished the exit permit requirement for most migrant workers. However, this change to the law did not apply to all workers. Workers who were not covered under the Labour Law still required an exit permit to leave the country.
Those workers included government employees, domestic workers, workers in the oil and gas sector, those who worked at sea and in territorial waters, and those who worked in agriculture or in private offices.
As of January 16, 2020, however, Qatar announced a new ministerial decision that extended the right to leave the country without prior permission to most of those excluded workers, except those in the military.
What does that mean for you? As a migrant worker, you no longer require an exit permit to leave Qatar. However, there are important points to note.
<li>Employers may apply for exceptions for certain workers. This allows them to designate up to 5% of their employees within ‘responsible’ roles (for example, those with financial oversight), who will still be required to seek managerial approval to leave.</li>
<li>Domestic workers must inform employers that they wish to leave Qatar at least 72 hours in advance. After some confusion on social media, it has been clarified that there is no need for domestic workers to gain <em>permission</em> from their employer, but they must inform them of their intent to leave.</li>
Following the announcement of these changes, Saudi Arabia is now the only country to require exit permits for all its migrant workers.
Migrant workers in Oman do not require an exit permit to leave the country. However, for those workers who want to return to Oman, they must get their visa cancelled when they exit the country.
If you fail to get your visa cancelled when you leave, you will not be allowed to return to Oman on any kind of visa, including a visit visa.
It’s also worth noting that if you want to return to Oman to work within two years of leaving, you will need a NOC (no-objection certificate) from your previous employer or sponsor.
Similar to Oman, migrants working in the UAE do not need an exit permit to leave the emirates. If you are working in the UAE and decide to leave, you first need to inform your employer of your intent. You will then hand over your passport temporarily, to allow your employer to cancel your residence visa.
Failure to do this could delay your departure, and may see you marked as an absconder on the immigration system.
With extensive experience in this field, Fusion can provide all essential information regarding visa requirements for you, your family, and your employees. Want to find out more about how Fusion could help your business in Qatar, Oman or the UAE? Contact us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our friendly advisors.