Qatar legislative body backs permanent residency law for foreigners

Qatar’s Shura Council has agreed to back a law which would grant residency to expatriates who provide valuable services as well as to the children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris. The advisory council on Monday approved a draft law on permanent residency, the Qatar news agency said. Permanent residents would be allowed to have free state education, healthcare and be given the right to own property. It is thought to be the first such law proposed by one of the energy-rich Gulf states. The legislation was first announced last August just two months after Qatar was boycotted by neighboring former allies in a bitter diplomatic dispute, AFP reports. Qatar’s current population of 2.71 million is made up of almost 90 percent non-nationals. There are some 315,000 Qatari nationals. The residency proposal will now be considered by Qatar’s cabinet and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani before it becomes law.