Qatar says it will not apply six-year residency cap on foreigners

June 2, 2011
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Qatar has denied reports that all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would impose a six-year residency cap on foreign workers.

“There is no move in Qatar towards adopting the policy not to renew work permits for foreigners who spent six years in Qatar,” a labour ministry official said, quoted by Qatari daily Al Arab on Thursday.

Adel Fakih, Saudi Arabia’s labour ministry, this week said that Riyadh would soon impose the six-year cap as it seeks to reduce the numbers of unemployed Saudis in a country that is home to eight million foreigners.

Media reports said that the other five members of the GCC would emulate the Saudi example and would impose a cap.

However, the Qatari official said that the foreigners working in Qatar were temporary and could not become permanent migrants.

They get work visas that last five years and not six years,” the official
said. “Whoever gets this visa must renew it so that he remains a temporary migrant, and not a long-term migrant like what is happening in European countries,” he said.

According to the official, the Gulf countries have their own features that are vastly different from those of other countries.
“There is also the limited number of natives in the Gulf countries that is inferior to that of foreigners,” he said.

“In all cases, the foreigners working in the Gulf are under contracts and cannot stay forever. In Qatar, only 15 per cent of the foreign work force is skilled, and the others leave whenever their contract is finished.”
The official said that the issue of the presence of foreigners in the GCC has often been discussed with the International Labour Organisation and between labour officials.

The residency cap initiative, supported for years by the GCC labour ministers, has been invariably defeated by arguments, put forward mainly by powerful business communities, that it would harm the national economy and disrupt the labour market.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-says-it-will-not-apply-six-year-residency-cap-on-foreigners-1.816522

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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