The State of Qatar has advanced and enhanced the legal framework in the past year with the aim and intention to simplify the processes, policies and procedures, to be more attractive for foreign investors and to cut red tape. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching there will be more significant updates in 2021 which will benefit those who are doing business in the country.
One of the most important revisions to the Labour Law is the abolishment of the No Objection Certificate (NOC). The amendment provides the opportunity for employees to change jobs before the end of their contracts and to move freely from company to company. Additionally, employees can move jobs without needing to fulfil their employment contract with the original employer, if they provide notice. In most circumstances, expatriate workers’ resident permits will now be valid for ninety days from expiry allowing a change of employers while remaining in the country.
Another important amendment to the Labour Law is the introduction of a minimum wage of QAR 1,000.00 (USD 275.00) per month for all employees. This is a very big step in the protection of employee rights in the country.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) clarified the option of 100% foreign ownership of businesses in the State of Qatar. Traditionally, businesses were required to collaborate and cooperate with a local partner, a natural person with the nationality of the State of Qatar or a legal entity fully owned by a natural person with the nationality of the State of Qatar. Whereas, a local partner had to hold at least fifty-one percent of the shares of the business. Additionally, MoCI established a unified economic registry for more transparency.
With the aim and intention to attract more foreign investment, the government extended the number of areas where non-Qataris are allowed to purchase residential and non-residential properties on a freehold basis to twenty-five.
To improve the legal framework in the State of Qatar, the Singapore Convention on Mediation was ratified. The Convention creates a harmonized legal framework for the right to invoke settlement agreements resulting from mediation as well as for their enforcement.
An amendment to the intellectual property law resulted in more protection of industrial designs.
The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QMFA) introduced updated rules for dealing in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). These amendments have been made following the Liquidity Provider Rules issued by the QFMA and now allow financial service providers to conduct market making activities upon obtaining a licence from the QMFA.
The government has introduced a framework for the operation and regulation of the railways in the State of Qatar.
To complete the country’s infrastructure in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and with the aim and intention of involving the private sector in the economic development, an updated law was introduced to regulate private public partnerships. It contains provisions for licensing and operating transfer arrangements as well as how projects will be tendered and awarded.
The law defining charities has been updated to simplify operating processes, policies and procedures. It relates to member rights and formal communication channels.