Expatriates who work Qatar in may soon be given the opportunity of becoming permanent residents in the country.
This new development is part of a drive to entice more skilled foreigners into working in Qatar. There are concerns within the government of Qatar that the current system, which encompasses the sponsorship scheme, is possibly acting as a hindrance in the push to bring in the best of the world’s workforce.
The sponsor system has been the source of much controversy. It essentially diminishes the rights of the employee and puts complete control in the hands of the employer, with regards to both employment and residency. Criticism has been aimed from a number of sources, including international human rights groups and even Bahrain’s labour minister, who described the system as being similar to slavery.
The new plans were unveiled in the Qatar National Development Strategy for 2011—2016. The document discusses the failings of the current system and offers a plan to move forward: "A rigid labour market hampers the development of a workforce commensurate with aspirations for a knowledge economy. The transition to a more diversified economy requires more high-skilled labour,” the document says.
Despite the controversial system, Qatar is still a popular location for expatriate workers, and perhaps will become even more popular in the coming years. If you are interested in travelling to Qatar take a look at our detailed City Guide for information on employment, cultural differences, entertainment healthcare and much more.