Expats in Qatar urged to note three new laws

Published:  2 Aug at 6 PM
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Expats working in Qatar are being advised on three new rules recently introduced into law by the ruler.

The new rules are amendments to the existing Penal Code and are grouped under one law stipulating that anyone who ‘violates the sanctity of life of individuals without their approval’ will be either fined, imprisoned or both. The three branches of the new law describe prohibited actions used for the purpose of defamation or other misuse.

Actions which are now illegal include opening a telegram or letter without first getting permission from the person to whom it is addressed and listening in on a private phone conversation or recording conversations in designated places using any device. Taking photographs on any device of groups or individuals in specific locations is also banned, as is taking unauthorised photographs or videos of injured or deceased persons following accidents.

Meanwhile, a report on the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the Middle East’s expat population is causing concern. The region is one of the highest in the world for lifestyle-related diabetes, with most of the increase involving the type 2 version of the disease. One report links the increase to the high number of expats who cling to an imported, less active Western lifestyle reliant on fast foods and excess alcohol consumption.

The epidemic is putting pressure on doctors and hospitals at the same time as forcing private health insurance companies to increase their premiums. Early detection followed by management of the condition is being recommended in order to control its escalation in the expat population. Sufferers should be encouraged to take part in controlling the symptoms by changing to healthier lifestyles including diet and exercise.

In Kuwait, the health minister has finally announced expat health fees will kick in at the beginning of October. Those not registered with the emirate’s health insurance system and non-Kuwaiti visitors will be the first to be charged, followed by a change in fees for those expats already registered. A raft of exceptions for social and humanitarian reasons has been provided, and will include children under the age of 12 with cancer, specified non-Kuwaiti family members, care home residents, stateless residents and others.
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