The first Qatar Visa Centre set up to complete recruitment procedures of expatriates outside Qatar will be opened in Sri Lanka next week, on 12 October. This was announced at a press conference held at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) headquarters. MOI said the new Visa Centre will facilitate biometric data processing, medical examination and signing of work contracts for expatriates out of Qatar.
According to Muhammad Hassan Al Obaidali, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the Ministry of Administrative Affairs, Labour and Social Affairs, the Qatar visa centres will simplify and facilitate procedures for employers, as well as provide more protection to expatriate workers who are coming to work in the State of Qatar. He said the project is a first of its kind in the region and comes as a confirmation of the role of the Qatar in the care and protection of the rights of expatriate workers.
Director of Visa Support Services Major Abdulla Khalifa Al Muhannadi, said that the expat work procedures will be completed at the centres, unlike before where it was done in Qatar only after the arrival of the visitor. This service is within the framework of MOI’s mandate to provide excellent electronic services that will help deliver services to the applicants easily, saving time and effort.
It is also a result of the concerted efforts and participation of concerned authorities, such as the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health.
He said that the service will help protect the rights of expatriate employees, and ensure the speedy completion of their transactions. With the new system, workers can start working immediately after entering the state, and avoid cases when workers had to return to their home country if they found themselves unfit for the work and the job. The system allows a unified channel for all services and procedures.
The new system also ensures the compliance of employers and employees with the terms and conditions of the contract, adopting a more transparent and responsible recruitment system, and enhancing the importance of e-government services as a fixed and first choice for applicants.
MOI has been working on the completion of the project for more than a year now. The system of work mechanism was tested between service centres outside Qatar and the Visa Support Services Department at the General Directorate of Passports.
More Centres Opening Soon
The first centre in Sri Lanka is all set to start in Colombo. Seven centres will also be opened in India – in Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Chennai. One centre will open in Kathmandu, Nepal; two in Bangladesh – in Dhaka and Selhait; two centres in Pakistan – in Karachi and Islamabad; three in the Philippines – in Manila, Cebu and Davao; three in Indonesia – in Jakarta, Semarang and Bandung; and one in Tunisia in Tunis. These eight countries have agreements with the State of Qatar and represent the overall highest percentage of employees coming to Qatar.
Al Muhannadi pointed out that the success of the recruitment mechanism through Qatar’s foreign visa centres depends on the compliance to procedures of the employer and the foreign worker.
Dr Ibrahim Al Sha’r, Director of Medical Commission Department, said the aim of the project is to protect the country against possible health problems that may come from abroad. He said that the Ministry of Health is concerned with Qatar’s health security, pointing out that the procedures of medical examination of expatriate workers prior to arrival in Qatar will reduce the arrival of serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, as well as chronic diseases or injuries that can be an obstacle to the worker in performing the work for which he is being recruited.
Dr Al Sha’r also emphasised that the Medical Commission is the first defence of Qatar against the incursion of any diseases that could pose a threat to the health of the community. He said that the Medical Commission will be in constant follow-up of approved medical examination centres outside the state to ensure the validity and quality of tests conducted for foreign workers.
For updates and more information about the Qatar Visa Centres, visit moi.gov.qa.