DOHA: Qatar has created a new permanent resident status for certain groups of foreigners, including those who have worked for the benefit of the state.
Qatar’s Cabinet ministers approved the measures, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported, in a move that will likely affect tens of thousands of resident foreigners.
Under the new rules, children with a Qatari mother and a foreign father can benefit from the new status along with foreign residents who have “given service to Qatar” or have “skills that can benefit the country,” the agency said.
A specially created Interior Ministry commission will decide individual cases, according to the QNA.
Those deemed eligible for the new status will be afforded the same access as Qataris to free public services, such as health and education.
They will also receive preferable treatment for jobs in the administration and armed services as well as being able to own their own properties and exercise some commercial activities without the need for a Qatari partner.
While stopping short of offering Qatari nationality, the new measures constitute a first for the Gulf.
The move comes as Qatar languishes under sanctions imposed by the Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.
Kuwait is leading mediation efforts in the crisis.