On February 8, 2023, Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft law on workforce nationalization of certain private sector jobs. Proposed by the Ministry of Labor and Nationalization, the draft law would determine what jobs in the private sector will be nationalized.
The draft law sets incentives that would be offered to private employers, including small and big corporations, to hire Qatari citizens instead of expats in specific fields. The draft law would also grant financial incentives to Qatari citizens who work in those fields.
Electronic System to Develop the Nationalization Program
In an effort to implement the workforce nationalization program, the Ministry of Labor and Nationalization has announced the creation of an electronic system based on an innovative artificial intelligence algorithm. The new system aims at developing data and statistics to identify private sector positions that could be filled by Qatari citizens instead of expats.
The new system will provide the Ministry of Labor and Nationalization with data and statistics related to the nature of the activities of private establishments operating in Qatar, the establishments’ capital, the number of employees working in those establishments, and their average salaries. The system will calculate the nationalization percentages in each private establishment.
Additionally, the Ministry of Labor and Nationalization has announced that after obtaining all the needed data and statistics, it will optimize the number of Qatari employees per private establishment.
Number of Expats Working in the Country
According to the Qatari news outlet Al Raya, there are almost two million foreign nationals working in different fields in Qatar, most of whom work in construction and the industrial sector. Other expats work in the fields of goods and services.
Ministerial Decree to Determine the Number of Non-Qatari Employees in Public Companies
On July 9, 2020, the Cabinet approved a decree issued by the minister of labor to determine the ratio of Qatari citizens to non-Qataris working in public enterprises. In its statement concerning the decree, the Cabinet said that the purpose of the decree is to implement the provisions of the Labor Law promulgated by Law No. 14 of 2004.
The decree seeks to raise the percentage of Qatari citizens working at state-owned companies, or at companies in which the state has shares, to 60%. The decree also requires that 80% of the human resources staff in those companies be Qatari citizens.
Fields in the Private Sector Targeted for Nationalization
In September 2022, the Ministry of Labor launched a forum to identify areas of the private sector where the Qatari government would replace expats with Qatari citizens. Areas of the private sector targeted for workforce nationalization include manufacturing, services, tourism and hospitality, information and communications technology, the financial sector, and the health and education sectors.
George Sadek, Law Library of Congress
March 2, 2023
Read more Global Legal Monitor articles.