On the 4th of September 2018, the Emir of the State of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Law No. (10) of 2018 regulating the issuance of Permanent Residence Permits. In this blog, I will look at who is eligible for such a permit and what are the benefits of holding this status.
Before we dive into the matter, it is worth mentioning that Qatar introduced several sweeping regulatory changes over the past two years in the field of employment and immigration. These include:
- The amendment of the labour and immigration laws
- The introduction of the Wages Protection System; and
- Abolishment (for the most part) of exit permits
These changes are in line with Qatar’s vision to attract and retain talent by adopting legislation that would facilitate long-term employment and residence in Qatar.
Who qualifies for Permanent Residency?
To apply for Permanent Residency an applicant must:
- have resided in Qatar for a minimum of 20 consecutive years if born outside of Qatar or 10 years if born in Qatar;
- be fluent in Arabic;
- be free of criminal convictions;
- evidence that their income is sufficient to support them and their family (if any) in Qatar, the minimum value of such income will be determined by the Qatar government in the near future.
What are the benefits of holding Permanent Residency?
Holders of such a permit may stay outside of Qatar longer than 6 months without their permit being suspended or cancelled. Access to free public and government-funded healthcare and education will be provided to the permit holder and their family. Spouses and children below the age of 18 and up to the age of 25 if studying may also obtain Permanent Residency.
Perhaps of most interest, those holding Permanent Residency will be able to register businesses in various economic sectors without the need for a local Qatari joint venture partner. Furthermore, the Qatari authorities have confirmed that such individuals will also be able to invest in real estate and various sectors of the economy that are exclusively reserved for Qatari nationals.
When can you apply?
The exact date of commencement of the new law is yet to be confirmed. We do know, however, that the state of Qatar will first establish the “permanent residence permit committee” within the Ministry of Interior Immigration Department. The committee will be tasked to evaluate each application in accordance with the law. Based on the information provided thus far, the application process will have to be submitted within Qatar at the immigration department, the exact document requirements and application process are yet to be announced.
Is there a quota?
As of now, the law allows for the issuance of a maximum of 100 Permanent Residency permits per year. So even if you qualify you may have to wait some time before you obtain this status! However, the Emir of Qatar may increase the number based on the request from the Minister of Interior.