Expat workers in Qatar may be forced into retirement at 60

Published:  27 Jul at 6 PM
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Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs is mulling over the introduction of a mandatory retirement age of 60 years for expat workers.

Following on from complaints by recent graduates that they were unable to find suitable positions in the emirate, the ministry is considering compulsory end-of-contract retirement for all expat workers. The cut-off point is expected to be 60 years. The move, according to Al Watan, would have the result of opening up employment opportunities in development projects to the brightest and best new graduates.

However, employers are concerned about the feasibility of having to replace experienced professionals with young people fresh out of university and lacking in work experience. At present, the emirate’s Human Resources Law 8, introduced in 2009, recommends a retirement age for Qataris in public sector positions of 60 years, although extensions can be granted where necessary. The private sector, however, has no age limits for its employees, although older expats are finding problems when they attempt to change sponsors.

The proposed new law isn’t unique to Qatar, as discussions about its merits have been held in other Gulf states including Saudi Arabia. In 2013, it was mooted as an admittedly controversial solution to youth unemployment in Saudi, but was never adopted as law. Reports by the Qatar Tribune suggest the Labour Ministry is investigating cases such as expats entering to work on development projects and staying in the emirate after their contracts had ended.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has placed a ban on expat purchases of real estate in three cities, Riyadh, Mecca and Medina. The ban was introduced to protect the two Muslim holy cities from corruption and is particularly targeted at non-Saudi nationals and companies with foreign shareholders.
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