With a booming economy and as an attractive location for multinationals to expand, many companies are assigning staff to work in Qatar. If you are responsible for obtaining the necessary work permits and visas for your overseas workers, you first need to understand the basic requirements and timeline.
While revisions in the labor laws in Qatar have made the process easier, there are still many rules and regulations to comply with. Here is a complete overview of Qatar incorporation and immigration rules for foreign companies.
Residence Permit for Foreign Workers in Qatar
Any foreign national that will be working in Qatar will need the Work Residency Permit (RP), which is basically a work and residence permit combined. The Qatar RP must be applied for by the employer in Qatar (whether a domestic company or branch of a foreign corporation). It is valid for one year, and can be renewed annually inside of Qatar.
Immigration and Work Visa Requirements in Qatar
The primary RP requirement is that the employer be a legal corporate entity in Qatar. If your company is not yet established in Qatar with a local entity, then you will need to use a GEO employer of record to assign staff. The Qatar employer must submit the employment contract and all other documents for the overseas worker.
Other requirements include a medical check to test for hepatitis and HIV, which can be grounds for denial of tested positive.
Qatar Work Visa Processing Time
The expat worker may enter Qatar on a temporary Entry visa from their employer prior to beginning work, which can picked up on arrival. This visa can then be converted to an RP while your employee is in Qatar, but the employee cannot begin working until the RP is approved.
This is a convenient option compared to many countries that don’t allow conversion while in country, but one rule to remember is that the applicant cannot leave Qatar during the period of conversion to the RP.
Once the conversion begins, the RP visa processing time is from 2-4 weeks, but can be longer depending on circumstances. Given the current political climate in Qatar and some potential barriers, you should allow ample time for the application to be processed.
Qatar Work Visa Cost
The cost for both necessary visas in Qatar (Entry and RP) are:
- Employment entry visa for expatriate: QR 200
- Conversion of Entry visa to RP: QR 500
- Total: QR 700 (US$2450)
Compared to work visas in other countries, this might seem steep, but if you are sending essential staff to Qatar it just part of the economic cost of the assignment. If you are sending multiple employees or are considering expanding to Qatar, please contact Shield GEO for assistance using our local employer of record and in country experts in immigration.