Qatar’s permanent residency offer nothing more than ‘PR stunt,’ analysts say

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Qatar’s recently approved bill depicting conditions for potentially earning a permanent residency in the state is nothing short of a “PR stunt,” analyst at the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, Mohamed Abdelmeguid, was quoted saying in a CNBC report.

Abdelmeguid continued saying that this is an attempt to create a sense of “confidence” amongst expats and locals. The decision comes into play after Qatar’s government realized that its economy cannot rely on the current nationals’ population, he added.

Some of the conditions stipulated include: “they are the children of Qatari women married to foreigners, or have performed ‘great services to the state’,” CNBC quoting the Qatari News Agency (QNA).

READ ALSO: Qatar to offer permanent residency to some foreigners

Under the permanent residency, grantees will earn education and health privileges mirroring to that of a Qatari national. They may also be granted the ability to own property, added the QNA announcement.

Speaking to CNBC, Consultant for Global risk analysis in the Middle East Allison Wood noted that such a grant will highlight the “divide been skilled and unskilled workers,” in Qatar. Blue collar workers are unlikely to make the cut, she added. Wood also raised speculation that such a decision could not have been a “coincidence” in light of the GCC rift.

Similarly, a terrorism and Middle East analyst at IHS Markit, Firas Modad, claimed that the decision is but a mere distraction from human right abuses blue collar workers in Qatar endure.

CNBC quoted Modad as saying: “The decision was aimed at better paid, high skill workers, who are far less likely to suffer rights abuses. As such, it doesn't address the issue conditions of foreign construction workers for which Qatar has been criticized by international rights groups.”

On a final note, Abdelmeguid suggested that due to the vagueness of the permanent residency grant, it was “not going to be ruled out on a mass scale,” said the report.

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