Qatar: Qatar Visa Centres: A One-Year Update

Last Updated: 4 November 2019
Article by Vladimir Jankovic

On October 12, 2018, the first Qatar Visa Centre (QVC) was opened in Sri Lanka. Since then, several centres have opened around the world, servicing a large portion of migrant workers looking to relocate to Qatar. In this blog, I will explore the impact of such a significant change to the migration process as it relates to the immigration landscape in Qatar.

What are Qatar Visa Centres?

The Qatar Ministry of Interior (MOI) set up QVCs in select countries around the world, focusing on those countries that provide a large number of blue-collar migrant workers to Qatar such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and, recently, Philippines.

Nationals of the above-listed countries wishing to obtain a Qatar Work Residence Permit (RP) are now required to complete a list of procedures in their respective home countries prior to travelling to Qatar. This includes:

  • Medical testing (X-ray, blood test and vaccination)
  • Fingerprint scanning
  • Document legalisation (for select professions)
  • Electronic acknowledgment of employment terms

Why were QVCs introduced?

In conjunction with the Qatar Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), the authorities' aim for introducing QVCs focused on several key areas:

  • To simplify the recruitment and immigration process within Qatar for a large portion of migrant workers coming to the country by completing the bulk of the immigration process overseas. This means that migrant workers who complete the QVC process overseas will only be required to physically sign their employment contract once in Qatar – at which point the employer would proceed to issue the applicant's Work RP without any additional procedures.
  • To lessen the burden on the various government office authorities that were previously managing this process within Qatar, such as the medical commission and fingerprint office.
  • To enable employees to clearly understand the terms of their employment (in their native language) prior to travelling to Qatar through the electronic acknowledgment of employment terms.
  • To ensure, as far as possible, that employer recruitment costs are reduced by ensuring that all applicants pass the medical tests before travelling to Qatar. Historically, this process was undertaken in Qatar, and employers had to potentially bear additional costs for repatriating an applicant who did not pass the medical test.

What has the impact been on the business community in Qatar?

The positives

The QVCs have arguably brought a positive change to the immigration process for employees, employers and the government, particularly in terms of ensuring that a foreign national has completed and passed all related requirements before entering the country. Most immigration systems around the world operate some form of consular process before being granted leave to enter the destination country. As such, the QVC process is in line with this existing practice.

Where there are no complications, processing times have been generally very good, often beating the stated timelines for receiving the results, which are currently set at the 15th working day from the date of test completion.

The challenges

However, there have been a number of challenges with the new QVC process, which are not unexpected in view of the seismic shift in processing visa applications for Qatar.

  1. Country of submission

Regardless of the physical location of the applicant, he or she will need to travel to his or her home country in order to complete the QVC process. In practice, this means, for example, that an Indian national living in Germany would need to travel to India to complete the QVC process, even if that person has never lived in India. This can add costs and delays to the overall timeline to obtain the entry visa.

  1. Failing the medical tests

Applicants who fail the medical test are not readily able to appeal the results. Where the medical results have shown an area of concern, applicants are often called back to the QVC to repeat the respective test. However, if the results of the re-testing are still unclear, the visa application is likely to be automatically rejected.

Whilst this is not an uncommon practice in immigration systems around the world, there is always a chance that a medical result has been incorrectly assessed. For example, a scar in the lungs from a childhood infection does not necessarily mean that the applicant may have tuberculosis. In such circumstances, there is no formal process to appeal.

  1. No exemptions from the QVC process for now

There is no mechanism to exempt certain categories of applicants from having to complete the immigration process in their home country – the process applies to Free zones in Qatar as well. One of the aims of the QVC is to ensure that applicants are aware of their employment terms prior to travelling to Qatar. Although this is certainly beneficial for blue-collar workers, in most cases, white-collar applicants would already be aware of (and would have likely negotiated) these terms before the commencement of the immigration process.

  1. Newly established companies

Companies that are in the process of establishing a legal entity in Qatar do not have a readily identifiable option to sponsor their first signatory if that person is of a nationality that requires the QVC process. During the legal entity establishment process, companies are granted only a temporary immigration licence and this alone does not provide a mechanism to prepare a submission via the QVC.

Looking ahead

As outlined above, the establishment of the overseas QVCs has been a positive development and aligns Qatar with most other immigration systems around the world. The authorities have announced plans to further expand the QVC network to countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, and Tunisia.

With QVCs becoming more prevalent, it is likely that some of the issues faced by companies today will be appropriately looked into. In particular for companies that are planning to establish a legal entity in Qatar, it would be wise to carefully select and manage who the first employee and future signatory will be, and avoid appointing someone who must complete the QVC process, until that person is either exempt or until the authorities establish how one would work in such cases.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions