Why the NOC system doesn’t work.

I felt compelled to write something about this since there are so many people that make posts on the forums about employers not paying salaries, people not getting a No-Objections-Certificate (NOC) after the end of their contract, transfer of sponsorship, or people just not being a part of a positive work environment.

New to Qatar? Here’s the 101, if you don’t have an NOC, you can’t transfer your employment to another company and have to leave Qatar for two years before being allowed to come back.

Let’s start from the beginning? Why do many people take a job here in Qatar? Answer: Because Qatar is a super awesome country. Just look outside of your window, see the blue skies? Tropical weather? Lush greenery and smiling people walking down the street? That’s why. *serious face*

Alright alright. Let’s put the sarcasm to the side. I love Qatar! Just take a look at the title of the website after all! It’s just that there are a few laws in this country that don’t make sense; there probably was a good intention behind the need for them, but it’s like punishing all your kids when you damn well know that it was little Omar who lit the cat on fire! (Poor kitty).

Let’s get back to reality. People come to Qatar for a number of reasons; They want to explore a new part of the world (Doha is an exotic city for many people), people get better salaries, they can live more comfortable and laid back lives compared to where they come from (yes.. depending where you come from), and they probably want to make a name for themselves and climb the occupational ranks. Sound fair so far?

I’m going to try and appeal to the managers out there with this article.

Scenario 1: Let’s say that you come to Qatar after getting an offer for a managerial position. It’s 30,000 QR a month. Nice! You arrive, work hard, and your boss tells you that he can’t pay you this month because the company isn’t doing so well. You’re nice. You understand that companies go through hard times. You’ve made the journey all the way over here and you’re not about to turn away now that you’ve got so far right? Three months of no salary so you decide you’ve had enough! You quit. Your boss confuses your kind-heartedness (since you lasted so long) for stupidity, and thinks that stupid people don’t deserve an NOC. What do you do? Does that mean that you can’t leave?

Scenario 2: You’re already in Qatar. You’ve got an RP and on a family sponsorship. Let’s say that you get a job and so get the company to give you a work permit and you start living a higher quality of life because you and your husband now bring in more money to the house. Either you or the employer decide that after 16 months it’s not working out. In fact, you’re lucky because you got a better offer! Sadly, your employer turns out to be a bit of a douche. You ask for an NOC to transfer employment and he turns into ShaNayNay and tells you to speak to the hand (translated: you’re not getting an NOC). What do you do? Does it mean that you have to leave now? Is it easy to switch back to your husbands sponsorship? Let’s say that everything’s cool, but your family was used to a dual-income (you got a second car and a bigger house)… how do both of you survive in Qatar now if you can’t get a job?

Scenario 3: You’re working for a company. You get a better offer somewhere. You go back to the company and ask for an NOC. Boss says ‘no’ and in fact, since you wanted to leave, you’re now fired and get shipped back home in a crate.

Scenario 4: You get this really awesome job in Qatar! You get 40,000 QR a month to work 2 hours a day! It’s so awesome that I want it! Ok ok.. I don’t want it. It’s cool, it’s all yours. So you get a place in the pearl, take a loan for a BMW Z4, start wearing Massimo Dutti suits, hair all slicked back and three months later, on your way to work, your boss tells you that you’ve been replaced with a monkey. You’re fired! Oh.. and no NOC for you! So you decide to pack up and leave the country, but wait… you’ve taken a loan for your Z4. You’re not going anywhere! You have to pay back the loan before you can leave the country remember? So you don’t have a job to pay back the loan, and can’t get one because you don’t have an NOC. So what do you do? Work illegally or go to jail.

Note: These scenarios are meant to just get the point across. There are flaws in the system. Inshallah they’ll be fixed..

According to a friend who used to work for the National Human Rights Committee, their #1 complaint is when it comes to sponsorship or not being able to get an NOC. What does that say? Worse yet, since they get so many complaints, they turn away most people! So much for compassion…

I’ve never denied any of my employees from leaving iLoveQatar and grabbing better opportunities. I only ask them to give me a chance to better their offer (it’s not always about the salary), otherwise I wish them the best and hope that they’ll always be there for ILQ.

It’s like one of the most basic rules of life. Something my father taught me when I was younger. “Before doing something, ask yourself whether you’d like it if someone did it to you. If the answer is no, then don’t do it”. I know I wouldn’t like to be trapped under an NOC law.

If someone gets a better offer, why not let them take it? Why force an employee to remain in the company and work unhappily? They’re definitely not going to be efficient workers. They’re not going to have the company’s best interest. In fact, from an economical point of view, if companies were worried of employees leaving them, perhaps more companies would treat them with respect and provide for better work environment.

Just a thought.

You might also be interested in the “Workers Rights Handbook

Update: April 2013
I should have mentioned that there is also a reason to why the NOC is necessary in many cases. Sadly smaller companies can’t compete with bigger companies poaching employees too.
For example, I may have to spend up to 5,000 QR to sort out the processing of a visa for an employee, fly him or her into the country, train the person, and next thing you know, a big company comes and snatches that person up. Leaving poor little small company without an employee and out of pocket. That’s one of the issues here.

  • Barbara_simond

    Well done on a well written article!! Why indeed?

  • very interesting and  something to think about.
    No NOC when u have a better offer on hand and then the poor guy gets to be the victim of “Right Sizing”,

  • very interesting and  something to think about.
    No NOC when u have a better offer on hand and then the poor guy gets to be the victim of “Right Sizing”,

  • PLUR

    well written article .. i liked it that u conveyed this very serious issue with a little bit of humor.. makes a good read 🙂 … Having said that, Qatar better make some changes and fast … they have now bought this world cup upon themselves and i think we all know that the rest of the world isnt really jumping out of their seats with joy with that decision. So the whole world is watching their every move. They really need to chill out and globalize their laws a little bit or else they are in for a lot of criticism in the coming years …..

  • Al

    1- The book you linked is from early 2009 and ans per my knowledge a lot of stuff in it is outdated by now.
    2- Another great Qatar scenario ..I resigned and my resignation was accepted …my RP just expired and I am in the 3 month grace period and my sponsor is refusing to give me my cancellation…and now I am stuck..!!

  • amnesia

    Sadly, unless people share with me the latest updates, all I have to share is what’s given to me. However, the basic laws aren’t updated yearly all the time. If you’ve got an up to date copy, please do share it and I’ll get it uploaded.

  • amnesia

    Sadly, unless people share with me the latest updates, all I have to share is what’s given to me. However, the basic laws aren’t updated yearly all the time. If you’ve got an up to date copy, please do share it and I’ll get it uploaded.

  • amnesia

    thanks 🙂 Hopefully things will change. I mean we are already seeing a lot of change. Especially for a country that’s so young.

  • amnesia

    thanks 🙂 Hopefully things will change. I mean we are already seeing a lot of change. Especially for a country that’s so young.

  • Ela

    i want to ask u something…few months ago me n my fiancee (now husband) worked in qatar  and after awhile we decide to take a loan for a car,after 3 month we went home for our wedding which was planned since long time for the date,etc and a week before that he got accident,crazy driver hit his car but all the insurances is belong to that guy and we placed the car in the garage for fixed. then due personal reason we cant come back to qatar,we have some family problem..so me and my husband asked for resigned thru email which  they accepted. now what should we do to the car? shall we  ask them if we can pay from home ? but we planning to return the car but the car is already there with them,do u think they will accept it or ask for auction to garage and pay them with that money? so do u think because of this we cant come back to doha 1 day? maybe for visit or another great offers? pls advice….thx u.

  • amnesia

    You have to sell the car and cover your loan first or else they won’t let you out of the country.

  • lee087

    I’m just wondering whether people sitting on “high places” actually read these posts… they just don’t know how NOC is ruining families… they are forced to be separated because they can’t transfer to another company in Qatar.

    i really pray that this law changes soon.

  • Iamhuman

    Thank You for that wonderful article.. Government Please wake up!!! were trapped with this bullshit Indian management and we cant do anything just to sacrifice..Godbless Us!!!

  • Lstalat

    Well, to add further comments
    Wives on husband’s visa can change jobs without NOC, why can’t the other employees once they complete two years with the same employer?

    There must be justice in the matter, currently some people are discriminated against,

  • Me

    If you leave Qatar without a NOC I know that you cannot return to work there for 2 years….but can you get a visitors visa within those two years?

  • Peter

    Apart from the issues already mentioned the system gives employers a license to exploit employees. Show me a single expat (working for a locally owned company) who feels he/she is treated with respect. If it’s more than 5% I’d be amazed.

    My salary has steadily been restructured with each contract renewal. Initially it was 100% basic. Now it has been restructured to 40% basic and 60% allowances. Is there anything in law to prevent this it perhaps going as low as 10% – 90%. The company only does this to reduce it’s gratuity obligation.

  • Bravo

    Dear Khalifa, what a thoughtful and well written article. God bless you! If only have the employers in Qatar had this insight…..So many opportunities for Qatar to make a difference in the lives of its residents, and in the process set an example for the whole of the region…..reinforcing its role as a model nation on every sphere of endeavor.

  • JCblackwhite

    I am really hoping that Qatar will change there point of view to NOC’s. Hoping that they will cancel NOC policy and give the people a better opportunity. Most are suffering in some companies because they don’t have any choice but to stay even they are not treated well. In my case my company HR Manager has something against me that I don’t see anything that I have done to him. I am doing my job properly and hoping for the best opportunity in my company. He always in the way if I request for something that favors me or even to others. I love my company but knowing that there is someone are trying to put me down, terrifies me that any day will be my last day. The worst case they make us sign on the contract that we agreed not to have NOC. They make our contract favored to them. I am not just afraid about my future but to my family that hopes are on me.

  • angel

    This is a very wonderful article that gives hope to all employee like me who is trapped to a company coz they refuse to give NOC i wish and pray that Government of Qatar will do changes of the NOC rules 🙁

  • CS

    I wonder how many skilled expats leave Qatar because they can’t get an NOC? That’s skilled professionals, who have worked in Qatar for several years and so know how things work around here, and then for one reason or another, they are not offered an NOC, and they choose to leave. Qatar has then lost a professional. Think of it this way. Every employee in Qatar is working, in some way or another, towards Qatar’s 2022 Vision and beyond. If an individual is denied an NOC then that skill, that knowledge, is lost to the country.

  • DickDePilot

    The NOC system is simply a tool to control workers. I take your point about small companies spending money to obtain Visa’s and train people only to then have bigger companies come along and poach. That could be dealt with by putting in place a law allowing for the practice but compensating the smaller company if the employee hasn’t completed and agreed period of time with the company. It happens in aviation all the time and any Qatar Airways pilot that has been trained on a different aircraft type will be working off a bond. Money is deducted monthly and, if they complete the set period they get their money back. If they leave early they pay back an amount on a sliding scale depending on how much time they have given the company

  • sh

    same as dubai

  • TejasKumar

    This needs to be said. LOUD. Good going, Khalifa!

  • Alex

    nice article Sir

  • phil smith

    i finished a two year contract; then extended for one more year; the contract was not renewed due to qatarization. now 18 months later i am getting round arounds with the noc. i have a very good offer. what to do? Does UAE also have NOC?

  • Ann Bowers

    Khalifa, you are a breath of fresh air. I would love to work for you. You have such a positive attitude that many others don’t have. You also think of the less fortunate people in the world , who want to better themselves for their families.I have been in Qatar 13 years with my husband and I am british. I personally would never go back and live in England and love the benefits that qatar offer.
    Thank you so much for people like you!
    You are a godsend!!!
    Ann Bowers

  • thank you for the kind words. The world is changing, inshallah Qatar will become an admired country with change

  • Guest

    My sentiments exactly. Very well said.

  • SummerSunshine

    My sentiments exactly. Very well said. If NOC will be abolished I’m pretty sure companies will learn how to value their employees and employees will appreciate their jobs even better. Its just a give and take cycle and a win-win situation. No more feeling trapped and imprisoned. By then we can truly say “We love Qatar”.

  • leona

    it was amazing facts….pls wake up government

    everybody deserve a good future.. i am skilled worker i finish my 2yrs contract last week and decided to go back home ( no choice)..bcoz my company,s not treating us right working for more than 12 hours a day w/ out overtime.. i have no choice but to leave the country even i have lots of offer for my career for the future of my family everything is about this Noc.. ilove this article thumbs up Sir..

  • Ideal Logic

    There are some best solutions the qatar goverment could adjust the law for employees to gain NOC.
    1. Contractual method. Only when the contract is over you can have the NOC with relevant document, or
    2. When the company does not pay the salary for 2 months with relevant proofs, or
    3. When the company is treating the employee bad and there should proofs, or
    4. When the company fires a person without a negative status and there should some proofs or either the government should test the ability of the work of an employee on the specific job he did. If the employee pass the test then the sponsor must provide the NOC.

  • Chiranjibi Timilsina

    De best view n to get FIFA 2022 it’s also a big issue!! There should be fareness!!!

  • wafa

    I love the articale, so true, unfortunately no one out there is listening

  • Curious Cat

    Why is it so hard for companies to give NOC?

  • nhnh

    Hi, if I have an open ended contract and I quit, do I still need a NOC to leave the country? And what if my employer refuses to give me one? Does that mean I am stuck in the country?

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