Gulf States Current Affairs

Qatar to become first Arab state to offer permanent residency to some non-citizens

Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law making permanent residency available to some non-citizens. It marks a partial shift from Qatar’s heavy reliance on its longstanding visa-sponsorship system.

With this the energy-rich Qatar becomes first Gulf Arab state to make permanent residency available to some non-citizens.

Key Facts

Under the new law, residency permits will be granted to children of Qatari women married to foreigners. Moreover it will be also granted to people who offered valuable services to the country and those with special skills. The residency permit will give holders similar rights as Qataris in terms of property ownership and run some businesses without needing a Qatari partner. It will also entitle them free state education and healthcare services. The interior ministry of Qatar will establish committee to review requests of granting permanent residency ID in line with the provisions of the law.

Background

Gulf Arab countries have a high number of expatriate workers but do not allow naturalization of foreigners except in rare cases and under strict conditions. Qatar which is world’s wealthiest country per capita has population of 2.7 million including some 300,000 citizens. Qatar’s native population is far surpassed by foreigners, so the energy-rich Arab state is reluctant to extend residency rights out of concern for the demographic balance.

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