(Nov. 19, 2018) On September 4, 2018, the amir of Qatar signed Law No. 10 of 2018, creating a new residency system for foreign nationals who are interested in residing permanently in the state of Qatar. (Details of the New Permanent Residency Law, AL-SHARQ (Sept. 4, 2018) (in Arabic).)
Law No. 10 of 2018, known as the “Permanent Residency Act,” consists of 13 provisions. (Law No. 10 of 2018, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYAH [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], vol. 15, 12 Oct. 2018, pp. 3–8, Ministry of Justice website (in Arabic).) Some of the main provisions of the Law are as follows:
- Article 1 of the Law grants foreign nationals permanent residency under the following conditions:
(1) The legal residency period inside the State of Qatar for foreign nationals must be 20 years if they were born abroad. However, if they were born in Qatar, the residency period must be 10 years.
(2) Applicants must have enough income to cover expenditures for themselves and their families.
(3) Applicants must be persons of good conduct and never have been charged or convicted of a crime against morality.
(4) Applicants must have adequate knowledge of the Arabic language. (Id. art. 1.)
- Article 3 creates the Committee for Granting Permanent Residency Permits to review permanent residency applications. The Committee must refer its decisions to the Minister of Interior, who is to review the Committee’s decisions and make a final decision concerning each applicant. The Ministry of Interior is to provide approved applicants with an ID called the “Permanent Residency Permit.” (Id. art. 3.)
- Article 4 limits the total number of permanent residency permits that can be issued to foreign nationals in the country to 100 permits annually. (Id. art. 4.)
- In accordance with article 6, residency permit holders have the right to access health care and enroll in public schools. (Id. art. 6.)
- Article 7, paragraph 1 allows children of residency permit holders who have not reached 18 years of age to be enrolled in public schools and have access to health care. Paragraph 2 of article 7 exempts male children who have not finished their bachelor’s degree by the age of 25 and unmarried daughters of permanent residents from the age restriction established in article 7, paragraph one, thereby allowing them access to health care and free education. (Id. art. 7, paras. 1 & 2.)
- Article 8 gives permanent residency holders the opportunity to invest in the national economic sector by establishing commercial companies. (Id. art. 8.)
- Article 9 gives permanent residents the right to own property and invest in the real estate sector. (Id. art. 9.)
- Finally, article 11 authorizes the Minister of Interior to cancel the permanent residency of foreign nationals and withdraw their permanent residency permits at any time on the basis of the national public interest. (Id. art. 11.)