Qatar expats say leave cancelled, travel restricted following Arab rift

Qatar has imposed restictions on travel by expatriate employees, to deal with the situation arising from the rift with other Arab powers. (File photo: Reuters)

Expatriates working in Qatar said on Thursday their employers had cancelled holidays and barred them from leaving the country in the wake of a rift with other Arab powers.

A Qatari government official said some leave had been cancelled in “essential government sectors” to keep staff on hand as authorities made plans to cope with the crisis, but did not mention travel restrictions or any focus on foreigners.

Expatriate executives and engineers at Qatar Petroleum said the orders started a day after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed trade and transport links with Qatar this month accusing Doha of backing militants - a charge it dismisses.

A Qatari passenger walks to the check-in area inside the new Hamad International Airport on the opening day, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. (AP)

A Qatari passenger walks to the check-in area inside the new Hamad International Airport on the opening day, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. (AP)

“I was told not to travel. My exit permit and holiday was cancelled,” said a British expatriate at one of the state-owned group’s subsidiaries. 

Operational reasons

A spokesman for Qatar Petroleum said that due to the sanctions on Qatar “a few selected critical employees may have been asked to postpone their leave for operational reasons at their discretion.”

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He said all expatriate and Qatari staff could still apply for leave by following standard procedures but did not mention exit permits.

Doctors from the government-run Hamad hospital made similar reports and others said the orders had affected hundreds of people.

There was no one immediately available to comment from the hospital’s management.

qatar reuters

qatar reuters

“Certain government bodies cancelled leave so staff were present to help with vital planning such as chartering new shipping routes and getting food into the country,” said the Qatari official who declined to be named under briefing rules.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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