08/10/2017, 10.05
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Doha waves visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries

The nationals of selected countries will only need to submit a valid passport to enter the rich Gulf State. Countries have been chosen on the basis of security and economy considerations, or the purchasing power of their nationals. Lebanon is the only Arab country on the list. The nationals of 33 countries will be allowed to stay up to 180 days and those of the other 47 states up to 30. On 3 August, Qatar created a new permanent resident status for some groups of foreigners. Qatar has a population of 2.4 million people, 90 per cent foreigners.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Qatar, isolated from its Gulf neighbors in a diplomatic crisis, introduced a waver programme for 80 countries in order to stimulate air travel and tourism.

“The visa waiver regime will make Qatar the most open country in the region,” senior Tourism Department Hassan al-Ibrahim said yesterday at a press conference in Doha.

Interior ministry official Mohamed Rashed al-Mazrouei said that nationals of 80 countries would only need to present a valid passport for entry to the energy-rich Gulf state.

The programme, which came into immediate effect, covers countries of the European Union, other Western states, Latin American and Asian nations.

Lebanon is the only Arab country in the list published at the end of the press conference, although the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council of which Qatar is a member already allows freedom of movement by its nationals.

Nationals of 33 countries will now be allowed to stay in Qatar for 180 days and those from the other 47 states up to 30 days, periods which are renewable a single time.

Mazrouei said the countries were selected on the basis of security and economic considerations, or for the purchasing power of their nationals.

On June 5th, Saudi Arabia, as well as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, imposed a boycott against Qatar, accusing the emirate of fostering extremist Islamic groups and of close ties with Iran. Doha has denied the allegations.

The four Gulf nations have closed their land and sea borders with Qatar and imposed economic restrictions and air travel restrictions.

On 3 August, Qatar created a new permanent residents status for certain groups of foreigners, including those who have worked for the benefit of the emirate.

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.”

Those deemed eligible for the new status will have access to public services, such as health and education.

Qatar has a population of 2.4 million people, 90 per cent of whom are foreigners, including many from south Asia working in the construction industry.

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