Awareness about Qatar’s laws reduces deportation figures

May 30, 2011

Increased awareness among expatriates about Qatar’s residency and sponsorship laws has led to a significant fall in the number of people ending up in the Deportation Centre, a senior interior ministry official has said.

“Today morning we had 180 men and 110 women in the centre. This figure could change any time with the arrival of new people and departure of some of the existing ones,” Colonel Nasser Al Sayed, director of the Search and Follow Up Department, said.

“We have seen a drastic fall in the number of detainees over the past few months because of increased awareness among expatriates about the law. Violations of residency laws have come down as a result of an awareness campaign being waged by the ministry in collaboration with the foreign diplomatic missions in the country,” he told reporters and diplomats during a guided tour of the department.

Members of the local media as well as the diplomatic corps were taken around the facilities and informed about the procedures at the Deportation Centre during the three-hour tour, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.

Al Sayed said that the number of detainees fluctuated almost every hour and that people who turned themselves in voluntarily at the department were not required to stay for more than 48 hours provided there were no court cases against them and all their travel documents were in order.

“However, those who are caught by the police for violating the residency and sponsorship laws are produced before the prosecution and then referred to the courts. Procedures for their deportation can be completed in four days depending on the decision of the court. The lack of travel documents is a major factor that delays the procedures,” Al Sayed said.

Deportees are allowed to travel to any country, other than their home country, if they hold a valid visa to that country, he said.

Under the new labour law, the sponsor has no right to keep the passport of the workers. If the sponsor refuses to return the passport, the latter can file a complaint with the police. If the sponsor remains adamant, the case is referred to the court, which can impose a fine on the sponsor for violating the law.

Brigadier Hamad Al Mohannadi, director of the legal affairs department, said the new law was also tough with employers abusing the rights of workers.

“Workers who are subject to human rights abuse by their sponsor can lodge a complaint with the National Human Rights Committee, which then investigates the case,” he said. “If the complaint is found to be genuine, the rights body works with the ministry of interior to secure a change of sponsorship for the worker,” Al Mohannadi said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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