Qatar on Wednesday approved a law to grant permanent residency to foreigners, but not without certain conditions.
According to state-run Qatar News Agency, the permanent residency will be for a limited number of expatriates.
Officials said Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has issued a decree allowing a maximum of 100 expatriates to gain the permanent residency each year.
As residents, they will become eligible to a generous welfare system and commercial rights.
Expatriates make up more than 90 percent of Qatar’s 2.7 million inhabitants.
To be eligible, residents born in Qatar must have lived in the country for 10 years, while those born abroad would need to have lived there 20 years, according to the decree.
A passing command of the Arabic language, proof of sufficient income and sound legal standing are also required.
Children of Qatari women married to foreigners, spouses of citizens and the children of naturalized Qataris will automatically become permanent residents.
Permanent residents will be able to establish commercial companies without needing a local partner.
It’s a landmark development in the energy-rich Gulf state.
The move was part of the country’s efforts aimed at facilitating and attracting foreign investments, the report said.
Qatar is abolishing the exit visa required before expatriate workers are allowed to leave the country, according to a decree published in Al Raya newspaper.