Qatar passes landmark law to grant permanent residency to expats
Qatar approved a landmark law with the potential to ultimately transform Gulf societies by granting permanent residency cards and new rights to some of the foreigners who dominate its population.
Under the new law, cardholders will be treated like Qatari nationals and will benefit from elements of the state’s generous welfare system, including education and health-care services, the official Qatar News Agency reported late Wednesday. They will also be given priority, after locals, for military and civilian public jobs and would be allowed to own property and run certain commercial activities without a local partner, QNA reported. Those eligible for the card include children of Qatari women married to foreigners, people with special talents “needed by the state,” and others who have extended notable services to the country, it said. Citizenship, however, will remain off-limits to foreigners.
The move would be the first in the Gulf region, where the privileges of nationals have been zealously guarded and expatriates’ access to public services and property rights are sharply curtailed.