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Expats in Qatar make up the majority of the population and English has largely replaced Arabic as the language of business.
The petrochemical industry offers various opportunities for expats working in Qatar. Most expats working in Qatar have found employment in the gas and petroleum sector. Dukhan and Ras Laffan Industrial City play an important role in the petrochemical industry and have contributed greatly to the country’s economic development in recent years.
Since 2000, the tourism sector has also grown significantly and the FIFA World Cup 2022 will trigger additional growth in tourism and the Construction and real estate sectors .
The most usual work authorisation for Qatar is the Block Work Visa/Residence Permit application. This involves applying for a “Block” position first from the Labour Department.
The assignee also has the option to apply for Business visa for business trips of up to 30 days.
Processes and requirements may vary slightly according to the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We therefore recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
The process involves firstly obtaining a Block Visa. This is an authorisation from the Labour Department. After this point, the applicant must submit a separate Work Visa application at their closest Qatar Consulate/Embassy. Once this is approved, the applicant may then enter Qatar.
The next step is for a medical examination to be done, followed by biometrics attestation of the Work Contract at the Labour Department. Finally, the assignee must apply for a Residence Permit and Qatari ID card.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal and corporate documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to:
Passport, Degree Certificate, Medical Certificate, marriage certificate and birth certificate for any family dependants; as well as a variety of corporate documents which may include: job description, project contract , Employment Contract in Qatar, Commercial Registration Certificate, ID of authorised company representative, recent electricity bill, and Municipality Licence.
It typically takes 3 weeks to 2 months until entry to Qatar, and a further 2 weeks before the whole process is completed.
Once the Block is approved, the Work Visa must be applied for within 2 weeks. The Work Visa application is then approved within 3 – 7 business days. On entry to Qatar, the in-country processes of attending a medical appointment, submitting the biometrics, attesting the Work Contract and applying for the Residence Permit and ID Card will take an extra 4-5 weeks.
The work visa will is issued for an initial maximum duration of 3 years in line with the length of assignment.
Those who enter Qatar on a visitor visa may not take up any sort of employment. Working in Kuwait requires a Work Permit.
You may not switch immigration categories from a visitor to an employment visa in-country. If you wish to undertake work in Qatar you must first return to your country of residence and proceed with the application process. Once your visa has been approved, you may enter Qatar and undertake your employment.
The Qatar government does not grant permanent residency or citizenship to expat workers.
Requirements and procedures are subject to change, so please consult with your Newland Chase Immigration Advisor for current and detailed information.
Applicants with a family should be pre-warned that not all applicants are allowed to bring their families with them to Qatar. Only assignees earning more than 10,000 QR (£1,775) per month are permitted to do so. This should be considered before a job offer is made/ accepted.
Further, couples must be married to live together in Qatar and applicants will not be able to bring their children to live with them if they are not married to their partner. Lastly, some companies will only process family visas when an employee has been in Qatar for six months, meaning that families will be separated for this period.
There are many ways for the process to be applicayion to be delayed, from applying for the Block Visa, to finding medical appointment availability. Therefore, applicants should be informed of this in advance.
In some countries timescales for obtaining police clearance certificates can be lengthy and some documents will require Apostille or legalisation, which can also involve lengthy processing times. As such, you would be advised to start the visa application process well in advance of the desired date of relocation.
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State of Qatar
2,423,175 (2016 estimate)
Qatari Riyal (QAR)