Qatar scrapped mandatory exit permits for migrant domestic staff and other groups on Thursday, as part of efforts to boost rights for guest workers amid scrutiny of its record.

Previously all foreigners working permanently in the gas-rich country required authorisation from bosses to leave, but now only military personnel will routinely require such a dispensation.

Qatar has made a series of reforms to its employment regulations since being selected to host the 2022 World Cup.

It also dropped the exit visa requirements for other foreign workers, including civil servants, oil and gas workers, and employees of government bodies including Qatar Airways.

“Now a domestic worker has the right to enter and exit the country without their employer’s permission,” labour ministry under-secretary Mohamed al-Obaidly said.

“We are working on a complete system of (labour) legislation.”

The announcement came after Human Rights Watch published it annual report on Tuesday, saying Qatari “reforms have not gone far enough, and implementation has been uneven”.

Domestic staff must give their employers 72 hours notice before leaving under the new rules.

Companies can also designate up to 5 per cent of staff as “responsible” roles, such as those with financial oversight, who will still be required to seek managerial approval to leave.

Source: National News Agency