ISSUANCE OF NOC IS A WORKER'S RIGHT

On April 1981, Qatar enforced Law No. (5) of 1981 providing among others that "work visa shall not ‎be granted before a two-year-period since the last departure of the foreigner who had already worked ‎in the country". The Minister of Interior, in matters of public interest, may grant this visa without ‎abiding by the aforementioned period.‎

The 2-year ban under Law No. of 1981 appears absolute and only the Minister of Interior, on matters ‎of public interest, can relax the ban and grant visa to a returning worker.‎

Mindful of the baseless perception that the employment environment in Qatar has been a virtual ‎slavery in view of the absolute prohibition under Law No. 5 of 1981, the State, on 19 May 2004, ‎enforced Law No. (14) of 2004, otherwise known as Qatar Labor Law, where Article 43 thereof ‎impliedly amended Law No. (5) of 1981 by delegating to Employers the absolute discretion to grant ‎visa to a returning worker. Article 43 is hereby reproduced as follows:‎

Any condition in a service contract shall be void when it contains an undertaking by ‎the worker to work for the rest of his life with the employer or to abstain from carrying ‎out any craft or profession which may be carried out after leaving the work even if the ‎contract is agreed before the coming into force of this law. ‎

If the nature of the work allows the worker to know the clients of the employer or the ‎secrets of the business of the establishment, the employer may stipulate that the ‎worker shall not compete with him or participate in any undertaking competing with ‎him after expiry of the contract. Such stipulation shall be valid only if it is restricted as ‎to its duration and place and to type of the work to the extent necessary for the ‎protection of the legitimate interests of the employer. The period of such undertaking ‎shall not exceed two years. ‎

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The first paragraph of Article 43 expressly prohibits employers from engaging in employment slavery, ‎and the second paragraph provides a guideline where the employer may issue NOC to the worker. ‎Thus, if the worker knows the secrets of his employer's business the employer may stipulate that said ‎employee shall not compete with him or participate in any undertaking in competition with the worker's ‎employer. ‎

Article 43 expressly proscribes employment slavery, and it went further by giving guideline to ‎employers in the issuance of the NOC. Insofar as the law as it now stands, issuance of NOC has ‎now become a matter of right for the workers, only that the employers are given the same right to ‎limit the areas of possible employment of returning workers. The right of employers to impose ‎restriction is not without further qualification, for the law states that restriction will be valid only if it ‎is restricted in duration, place and type of work and such restriction cannot exceed two years.‎

In most civil and common law jurisdictions, Rules of Judicial Procedure provides for an action under ‎which a party to a "future" dispute may seek clarification under existing law or contract before violation ‎thereof is committed. This action is generally referred to as Petition for Declaratory Relief. While this ‎proponent is not quite familiar with the existence or absence of such procedure in Qatar, the most ‎proper recourse is to put to test the express mandate of Article 43 of Law No 14 via a similar petition.‎

Meantime, arguments in support of the express mandate of Article 43 should be elucidated so that ‎your collective voices may heard, and workers can now demand as a matter of right the issuance of ‎NOC by the employers, subject to the above limitations provided by law. Have time to provide your ‎most eloquent arguments or comments behind this endeavour.‎

Comments

ex-expat

Well you try and exercise that right my crawling little friend.

ex-expat

Can you help get me an NOC from my previous employer? I don't think so.

How can I INSIST upon my rights and ensure I obtain one?

Tell me, I'm waiting for your answer.

rimlaw

expat...that is the primary reason for this thread, that is: how to get the employers attention so they themselves follow the mandate of Art. 43 of the Labor Code... just share your best of reasons because you are a businessman yourself... As I see it now, we need a judicial interpretation on Art. 43 because the State already delegated the exercise of discretion to employers on whether or not to issue NOC... not all employers follow Art 43 of the labor law, majority disregard this Article.. and the only way, i believe, is a petition for Declaratory Relief.. Its a non-adversarial proceeding that hopefully will be filed by local advocates if our collective opinion justifies the institution of such an action...

Eagley

Thank you, Rimlaw.

Further, non-competition clauses in contracts of employment are void or voidable for unfairness if they are unlimited in time. But here, the non-competition provision is limited to not exceeding 2 years - therefore, sorry to say, fair. Some case law (not in Qatar) even state a reasonable time frame as 3 years.

A mechanism to stem the abuse of this NOC and EP ought to be put in place or if already in place, then properly administered.

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Don't want no drama,
No, no drama, no, no, no, no drama

gpolicarpio

This is inform all concerned tha Venicia International Co. WLL has been treating all of his employee like a slave. We are working for a minimum of 12 hours a day without overtime. I resigned because I cannot stand this kind of situation anymore and it is very inhuman and unfair to the employees rights. Until now, I've heard from my previous colleagues that even during this Ramadan month they are still forced to work for 10 hours a day, wherein it is supposed to be 6 hours only and again, without overtime pay. I am writing because I was concerned with one of my previous colleague who is a Filipina and is now pregnant, she was crying and asking for help because of her condition. She was afraid to report this abusive Company at the labor department because she might get into trouble. Kindly investigate and make a spot check on the said company. Please help those people that are being abused everyday. Thank you and may God help you solve this case.

Company Information: Venicia International Co.WLL Tel Number: 4444-1624 Address: PO Box 21412 Doha, Qatar

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