A new sponsorship law for Qatar, which will allow employees to change jobs, is under consideration according to the outgoing US ambassador. The law, which was reported in Business Intelligence Middle East, may be a response to the US State Department's annual trafficking report which heavily criticised Qatar as a country which was a destination for human trafficking for the purposes of involuntary servitude.
Currently an employee arriving in Qatar may not change job without his or her employers permission - or leave the country, take out a loan or enjoy other rights taken for granted in other parts of the world. While the Government have made noises about removing the system of sponsorship in the past (see the End of Sponsorship?), there has been some resistance by local businesses.
Ultimately, allowing employees to change jobs should benefit the country as a whole, as skilled workers will remain in the country. It will also mean Qatar will be coming more into line with international standards.
Qatar has made great strides towards becoming a fairer, modern and more just society in the past few years. While, as both American and Amnesty International reports show, the country is not perfect, Qatar has put a stop to child camel jockeys, improved women's rights and started on the road to democracy. Hopefully an adjustment to the much disliked sponsorship law, if not its abolition, will be the next step.
Also see: Finding Work in Qatar
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