The oil-rich Gulf nation, Qatar is getting closer to passing a law that allows foreigners to have permanent residency in the country as the Advisory Council of Qatar approved draft law on permanent residency.

Gulf nations are known for their stern long-term visa, permanent residency, and citizenship laws under which, most of them disallow foreigners from having permanent residency permit, citizenship or even starting their own business or owning property. Perhaps, the wind seems to be changing in the oil-rich countries as, recently, UAE passed a law that allowed non-Emiratis to completely own businesses in the country beyond free zones and also grant long-term visa to students. On the other hand, on Tuesday, the Advisory Council of Qatar headed by H E Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud approved draft law that permits permanent residency to foreigners in Qatar.

With this, Qatar is inching closer to granting permanent residency to foreigners who are providing valuable services as well as to the children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris. Permanent residents of Qatar will have citizen-like rights including – free state education, healthcare and be given the right to own property. The draft law will now be presented Qatar’s cabinet and also to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani – once considered and approved, it will become a law. While the terms of receiving Qatari permanent residency is unclear, it the first such law proposed by one of the energy-rich Gulf states.

This will be a major benefit to millions of non-nationals working in Qatar, which is a country that massively relies on foreign labour. In fact, of its 2.71 million population, almost 90% people are non-nationals and there are just some 315,000 Qatari nationals. There are speculations that the eased up laws for foreigners are in the wake of ongoing Gulf Crisis which started in August just two months after Qatar was boycotted by neighbouring former allies in a bitter diplomatic dispute. Attracting foreign talent and businesses will help the nation in standing out among other Gulf nations and become independent.