Qatar opens up expat permanent residency for the select few

Published:  6 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, Jobs
With a recent surprise announcement, Qatar secured its place as the first Gulf State to allow expat permanent residency for a select few.

Qatar’s change of heart as regards permanent residency for a limited number of expats is a landmark ruling in the region, even although few expatriates will have the qualifications necessary. Those who do will have access to commercial rights as well as the emirate’s generous welfare system, both of which were formerly reserved for Qatari citizens. Just 100 expats every year will be granted residency, with applications supervised by the Ministry of the Interior.

One reason for the about-turn is Qatar’s ongoing diplomatic blockade by other Gulf States, with encouraging expat professionals to stay put in their jobs by granting more rights to the select few seen as a smart move. One of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s priorities has always been the guarding of citizens’ privileges against the huge influx of expatriates at all levels from low-skilled to top-of-the-tree professionals. In Qatar, expats account for over 90 per cent of its total population of 2.7 million, with the proportion of foreign workers across the six Gulf States at a similar level.

As a result, the qualifications for permanent residency are tough, starting with 20 years’ residency for those born outside the emirate and 10 years for those born in Qatar. Basically, a reasonable command of Arabic, a sound legal standing and proof of sufficient income are all required, and expatriates who’ve rendered significant services to the emirate and have special skills will be exempt from all eligibility requirements.

The children of Quatari women with foreign husbands, spouses of Qatari nationals and the children of naturalised Qataris will also become permanent residents automatically. Expatriates with permanent residency will be free to start companies without needing a Qatari partner and can also take part in economic projects involving the government.
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