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Maneesh Bakshi
In yet another step towards protecting the rights of expatriate workers, Qatar has made residency procedures easier for foreigners heading for jobs in the country.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday signed an agreement with Singapore-based company Biomet for completing all residency procedures of expatriate workers in their home countries itself.
Under the new system, those coming for work in Qatar can complete their medical checkup, record bio-metric data and fingerprint and sign work contracts in their home countries before coming to Qatar.
The move will help bring down the cases of rejection of expat workers on account of their failing medical tests. Currently, such cases stand at 3 percent of the total number of workers.
Eight countries ” India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines and Tunisia ” which contribute about 80 percent of the total workforce would be covered under the first phase of this project.
Director General of the General Directorate of Passports Brig. Muhammad Ahmad al Ateeq said the agreement is intended to ease the residence procedures for expatriates coming to work in Qatar.
Ateeq said the centres providing medical services on behalf of the Qatar government will be managed by the service providing company which will maintain record of biometric data record, fingerprint, medical checkup as well as work contracts singed through these centres located in their home countries before departing for Qatar.

"This new procedure is an important step by the Qatar government to safeguard the rights of workers as well as bringing transparency by allowing the worker to sign the employment contract in their home country. This will streamline the employment procedures and help workers to receive their agreed salaries through bank transfers immediately after the start of work," Ateeq said.
Capt Abdullah Khalifa al Mohannadi from the Recruitment Support Services Department at the General Directorate of Passport, said the second phase of the project will include authorisation of educational certificates and other documents and services like wage protection of the workers and so on.
"The new system will save workers from unnecessary hassle and duplication of procedures since it will be linked electronically to departments concerned to avoid mismanagement and can be verified at airport counters upon their arrival. The medical checkup will be approved electronically by the e-governance service," he added.
Sri Lanka will be the first country where this project will be piloted within next four months.
The centre will be opened in Colombo followed by multiple centres in rest of the countries. There is a plan to open seven centres in India, while four in Pakistan, three each in Bangladesh and Indonesia, two in Philippines and one each in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tunisia.
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