At a Glance
- Foreign nationals seeking Qatari work permits in select professions, notably including Project Coordinators and General Supervisors, are now required to hold a university degree in order to register their employment contract with the Ministry of Labour. No formal announcement of this change was made by Qatari authorities.
- While foreign nationals in these professions are still able to obtain a visa, because they cannot register their employment contract without holding a degree, they are unable to obtain a Residence Permit.
- The new requirement means that permit applications will take longer to prepare to account for the time necessary to obtain educational supporting documents.
The Qatari authorities have expanded the number of professional occupations for which a university degree is required to obtain a Residence Permit. Of note, foreign nationals seeking to work in Qatar as Project Coordinators or General Supervisors now require a university degree. Previously these occupations did not require a specific educational qualification.
A closer look
- Impacted applicants. The degree requirement applies to new work permit applicants, permit amendment applications for existing employees who are changing their job title to one of the impacted occupations, and to those registering a new employment contract with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs.
- Exemptions. Applicants who are seeking employment with companies registered in one of Qatar’s free zones are currently exempt from the new requirement.
- Documentation Required. Work permit applicants for foreign nationals in the impacted occupations will have to be accompanied by the applicant’s degree certificates, university transcript and a university verification letter, all of which must be legalized and attested to by the Qatari consular post in the country in which the documents were issued.
Impact for employers and foreign nationals
Employers should take note of the new requirement, as it could mean that some previously qualified employees might no longer be able to obtain Residence Permits in Qatar for work in the impacted occupations, due to the inability to register their employment contract.
Note also that in Qatar, foreign nationals may have to be sponsored to work in specific occupations if they wish to enjoy other benefits, such as sponsoring dependent family members or obtaining a driver’s license when in-country. So, while employers might be able to classify a potential foreign employee under a different and un-impacted job title, doing so could result in a loss of other benefits. It also means that employers may have to revise their existing block visa approvals to include only job titles that correspond to their candidates’ academic qualifications and their needs in the country.
Employers should also plan on work permits for individuals in these occupations taking longer to prepare, as legalized degrees and other university documents can take some time to obtain.
In general, Qatari work permits are not subject to standardized educational qualification requirements. Labor officials do, however, define job titles and informally set academic qualification requirements for specific job titles if held by foreign workers. These requirements are not published in an official list and are prone to change with little to no notice.