The State of Qatar recently issued Law No. (2) of 2014 (the "New Law") amending certain articles of Law No. (19) of 2005 on the same subject, which applies to licensing of engineers and architects working in Qatar.
Importantly, the New Law does not change (a) the requirement that a license is mandatory before acting as an engineer/architect or an engineering consultant, (b) the substantive requirements for obtaining a license; or (c) the threat of incarceration for 3 years for practicing without a license.
- Highlights of the New Law: Licenses for engineers/architects are now valid for 3 years instead of 2. (But licenses for engineering consultancy firms remain valid for only 2 years)
- If a license lapses, engineers shall be fined QR 1,000, and engineering consultancy firms shall be fined QR 10,000, per month of delay. Any delay lasting more than 3 months will result in de-registration
- The maximum fine for practicing in the engineering profession without a license increased from QR 50,000 to QR 100,000
- In addition to the usual requirements for establishing a foreign branch, the Minister of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (“MMUP”) now decides whether foreign branches of engineering firms and engineering consultancy firms are exempt from the stringent licensing requirements typically imposed on non-foreign branches. (Under the 2005 law, the Board of Directors for the Planning and Building Development General Authority made this decision.)
The following issues are not resolved under the New Law:
- Whether the Minister of MMUP will issue exemptions to foreign branches as a matter of course, or whether this Minister will apply new requirements to these exemption requests;
- Will MMUP's new regulations – which are expected to be issued in late March 2014 – contain any different substantive requirements for licensing or other matters;
- Whether any of the provisions of the New Law will be applied retroactively; and
- Whether, when a foreign branch applies to renew its Commercial Registration (CR), it must also apply for an exemption under the New Law.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss any of these issues in more detail.