New labour reforms introduced in Qatar

New labour reforms have been introduced which will make Qatar more competitive globally

The State of Qatar recently announced some changes to its labour laws, including the introduction of a national minimum wage, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. The need for workers to obtain a No Objection Certificate from their employer has also been removed, allowing them to change jobs more freely.

These latest changes come as part of a series of labour reforms by the 2022 FIFA World Cup host country. The programme of reforms will further enhance the global competitiveness of companies in Qatar and will ensure they conform to international labour regulations and best practices.

According to Law No. 17 of 2020, the minimum wage for all private sector workers, including domestic workers has been increased to QAR 1,000. In addition to the increased minimum wage, companies will also be required to provide an allowance of QAR 500 for accommodation and QAR 300 for food, unless an adequate alternative is already provided as part of their employment package.

This law will provide additional stability to Qatar’s labour market, making it even more economically competitive both internationally and within the region. It also aims to boost investment in the local economy and further accelerate the state’s economic diversification.

Additional changes that aim to facilitate the employment transfer process were also implemented at the same time, with the introduction of Decree Law No. 18 of 2020, which amends some provisions of Labour Law No. 14 of 2004.

Decree Law No. 19 of 2020 was also introduced. This amendment changes some provisions of Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, further protecting the rights of both employers and employees.

The changes to the minimum wage will come into effect six months from the date of publication of the new legislation in the official Gazette for the Government of Qatar. However, the removal of employer permission to change jobs became effective immediately. It is worth noting that companies who do not pay the appropriate wages or fail to provide adequate accommodation will face harsh penalties under the new reforms.

All the above changes were decided upon following a number of extensive consultations with a specialised national committee of relevant authorities in Qatar. All these changes form part of the human and economic development goals of Qatar’s 2030 National Vision, with a view to attracting skilled migrant workers, protecting their rights, and ensuring their safety.

If you would like to find out more about the recent changes in Qatar and the opportunities available for businesses to open there,  please get in touch with a member of the team on or +974 (0) 4 495 4666.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article was correct at time of publishing. Dates are subject to change without notice, please check with the relevant local authority or your Links Group representative for further information.


Article by Andrew Nixon on Sep 6th 2020