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Finding Employment

Qatar - Finding Employment

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The first thing you should know about Qatar is that foreigners who wish to work in this country must have a Work Permit. In order to get a work permit, employers must offer a contract to the employee, which must be approved by the Qatari government. A work permit is also the main document for those who wish to obtain a residency permit. This means that expats need to find a job before moving to this country.

Those who wish to apply for a work permit must do the following:

- Have their educational and personal documents verified
- Pass a medical test
- Have their fingerprints taken

There are also some sponsoring companies that usually offer guidelines to the new employees through all these formalities.

Finding a Job

Today, expats make up a very high percentage of the overall workforce in Qatar. The main industries that attract foreigners to move to Qatar are:

- Construction
- Education
- Energy
- Finance
- Media
- Recruitment
- Tourism and hospitality

The best way to look for work is to find a recruitment agency which is specialized in Qatar and the Gulf region. Looking for those companies that are based in the capital Doha is another option. There are also various jobs advertised in the classified section of newspapers in this country. The most common resources to find work in Qatar are:

Gulftime newspaper
Gulf Talent

Employment Contracts

When it comes to work contracts, all employers should provide foreign workers with a job contract, or official letter of agreement, where all the details are specified. A copy of this document is required as part of the Work Residence Permits application and it must be approved by the Qatari Ministry of Labour.

All future employees who wish to work in Qatar should take a look at their copy of the contract before travelling to the country. It is also important to know that there are two different types of contracts: fixed term contracts and open ended contracts. Those who obtain fixed term contracts do not need the approval of their employer in order to change job after completing the contract.

Those on fixed term contracts need the approval from the Ministry of Labour and they must provide written notice to their current employers. Those who obtain open ended contracts can change jobs without the permission of their employers, pending government approval, after 5 years of service.

The contract or letter should contain the following information:

- Job title and/or job description
- Personal details and Qatar ID
- Start date of the job
- Finish date of the job, or specification that the position is ongoing
- Required notice period which is given by both employee and employer
- Salary information
- Any possible key benefits (housing, transport, relocation or schooling assistance)
- Number of days of annual leave

Other entitlements for foreign employees may include:

- A return flight to their country at the start and finish of their employment term
- A payment upon leaving the position that relates to the number of years of service given
- Maternity leave, meaning that female employees are entitled to 50 days of maternity leave, plus one hour’s care time per day for children under the age of one

Contracts can also include:

- A job title, because some employees may find that the job title that appears on the contract might not match the actual title of the job they're doing.
- A probationary period, because some contracts stipulate a probationary period of between three and six months. If the employee doesn't pass the probationary period, repatriation costs must still be met by the company who hired them.


When it comes to public sector, the official retirement age in Qatar in 60, but there is no actual limit on retirement age for expats who are employed in the private sector. However, it is not possible for people over the age of 60 to change sponsors, and they need special permission for a sponsorship extension.

Employment Regulations

The legislation to safeguard the rights of foreign workers is the part of the latest Qatari law, made in December 2016. The old sponsorship system of expatriates has now been replaced with contract-based employment agreements in 2017. These changes offer foreign workers the chance to change jobs at the end of their contracts. They can also exit and enter the country more freely than before.

Expatriates who already work in this country must sign new contracts with their employers as the new law doesn't apply to currently existing contracts. The government website Hukoomi has all the information about Employmemt Residence and Work Permits in Qatar.

Working Week

In general, the working week in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday. The maximum number of hours an employee is allowed to work per week is 48 hours. Some overtime and other company demands can often change the situation in reality.

Exit Visa

Changes to the law made in 2016 now mean that expatriates do not need sponsors anymore if they wish to apply for an exit permit. They can now apply for an exit permit themselves through the Ministry of Interior's Metrash 2 system, but they have to inform their employer about it 3 days in advance. The applicants usually receive an SMS message which states whether the exit permit has been approved or rejected. There are two different Exit Permit options: a single Exit Permit, and a multiple Exit Permit. Exit permit applications can be downloaded from Qatari official government portal.


In general, self-employment is not permitted for expats. All foreign workers must have a contract with an employer. However, there are some exceptions for spouses who are sponsored by their partners on a family visa.


Energy and industry sectors have a policy known as Qatarization. This is an official scheme which aims to increase the number of Qatari people employed in the workforce of joint venture companies and government departments to 50 percent. All companies have an obligation to open up a number of positions reserved for Qatari people.

Read more about this country

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