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Saturday , February 22 2020

Transfer from Article 17 ( Project Visa) to Article 18 (Private Sector Work Visa)

Four expatriates, including my friend, who were working on an Article No 18 residence were transferred last year in January/ February 2015 to a government Article 17 residence.

They had been working for the past 5 years in the same company. Unfortunately the Mandoob (company representative) transferred their residence to the Article 17 residence without their knowledge and they realized this later.

By this time it was too late as the realization came after some months. Now my question is how can this matter be rectified and what impact will such a foolish mistake committed by the Mandoob have. These four persons residence are due for renewal in 2016. What is to be done? Will they be transferred back to visa No 18? Have they lost all their indemnity, dues etc? Your immediate answer will be highly appreciated

Name withheld
Answer: A lot of expatriates are facing a similar situation and really don’t know what to do because they really don’t understand the difference between being hired from abroad for a certain government project and being transferred to a government project visa locally.

There is a world of difference between the above two situations and we will try to make things as clear as possible although we have dealt with the subject a number of times in the past few months. This confusion is the result of useless talk (from people who know nothing of the immigration laws) on the issue because transfers of government project visas are very restricted these days but this doesn’t mean that you can’t transfer to another sponsor.

But before you jump to conclusions and think that we have given you the green signal on the issue, read the following: As recently as in March — after issuing a similar verdict on Jan 11 last year — Manpower Public Authority Director Jamal Al-Dousary issued an administrative decision allowing expatriates working on government projects to transfer visa from one sponsor to another. But this is where the clarification comes in.

Workers in similar situations were in the past only allowed to transfer their visas to different companies but under the sponsorship of the same employer after the completion of their contracts.

But now the new decision clarifies that laborers contracted locally from the private sector or transferring from dependent visas can transfer to other sponsors according to the previous conditions, which are:

1. Conclusion of the project’s tenure

2. Working for at least one year for the first sponsor

3. Getting the sponsor’s approval for transferring.

So, this makes it very clear that if you were contracted abroad for this government project then you can’t transfer to another sponsor (your length of service no longer makes any difference) but if you transferred to this project locally from another sponsor / company then your transfer is allowed.

In your friends particular case, they were transferred locally to the government project and as such they should not have any difficulty in transferring back to the private sector.

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