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.