Family visa application to go electronic soon says General Directorate of Passports Official
In an exclusive interview with The Peninsula newspaper, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Ateeq, Director General of the General Directorate of Passports has stated that there is a process to introduce new procedures that will enable people to submit their family visa applications (family residency) electronically through the systems and available online mechanisms like Hukoomi website, Metrash2 and the internal services system.
Since the issuance of the executive regulation of Law No. 21/2015, there are no new conditions set for obtaining families Residency Permit (RP), rather the in force conditions have been simplified, and procedures have become much easier. No applications fulfilling the requirements have been rejected.
In addition to this, the government has decided to allow children of residents to work while they are under the sponsorship of their guardians, said Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Ateeq.
He added that the new, in this aspect, is the provision of family RP service through the Metrash system, and making the personal interview of an applicant through a visual device is available at the nearest unified service centre in different parts of the country.
In this regard, he explained, in the past, the applicant was required to come personally to the headquarters of the General Administration of Passports to meet with the competent committee. After connecting the visual equipment to the headquarters, the service has been simplified saving effort and time of applicants as the applicant now does not need to take the burden of transportation and can easily visit the nearest service centre, he added.
Regarding the percentage of accepted and rejected applications, he pointed out that applications that meet the required conditions are accepted due to simplified conditions and easy procedures. “Rejection of application is only because of lack of fulfillment of requirements or failure to present some documentation,” he said, noting that even in such cases “applicants are directed to bring the documents and fulfill the requirements to get the application approved”.
He pointed out that there is an increase in the number of applications for family residency and a significant increase in the number of applications is being witnessed every year. For example, 40160 applications were approved in 2018 compared to 39612 applications in 2017, showing an increase of 548 applications.
“The Ministry thoughtfully planned to offer the necessary facilitation to ensure their stability. We believe that when the resident stays with his family he is more stable and productive.”
Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Ateeq, Director General of the General Directorate of Passports
In response to another question about the continuous growth of population despite the completion of most of the mega infrastructure projects in the country which could be a cause of return of large number of expatriate workers to their countries, Major General Al Ateeq said: “There is a coordination between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs to adjust the conditions of these workers with the completion of major projects to benefit from their experiences and skills in other projects in process and benefit from available job opportunities in the Qatari labour market.”
Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Ateeq also talked about the period allowed for newborn children born outside Qatar and whose parents reside in Qatar. He said they shall be granted an immediate entry visa from the airport/port of entry before the lapse of six months from the date of their birth. In case, babies exceeded the six month period, they need to get an entry visa prior. For children who are grown up and exceed the legal age they are granted RP under their parents for one year in order to find an employer for the following year.
Moreover, he said, the Ministry has decided to allow children of residents to work while they have residency permits under their parents regardless of their age. He also commented on complaints of some residents who think that they meet the requirements for obtaining a family residency permit despite that their application for family RP get rejected by the Committee, saying: “Any application that fulfils the requirements gets approval.
Applications which does not fulfill requirements and have deficiencies are the only ones rejected by the Committee. However, applicants are also directed to complete the requirements and resubmit the application for approval. He reiterated that no application that meets the required conditions will be rejected.
In response to another question regarding a connection between family residency and a university degree, he explained: “After the issuance of Law No. 21 of 2015 and its executive regulations, this condition has been canceled therefore the Committee does not require a university degree for obtaining a family residency permit.
However, he said, the competent authority looks at the profession of the applicant and the salary ceiling and also on family housing to make sure that the applicant is capable to bear the burden of living with his family, and accordingly, RP approval takes place.
Regarding a question that a husband cannot be a sponsor of his wife in case the wife has a university degree and he does not have it, the Major General stated that this condition of having a university degree is no longer required.
Speaking about requirements of a family visit, the Director-General of the General Directorate of Passports said any person applying for a family visit or wants to bring relatives on visit visa needs to prove that he can provide them housing and capable to bear their responsibility. As for the requirement of being the first-degree relatives, the Major General said that the first-degree kinship was not a condition that can prevent entry visas for relatives of other degrees such as uncles as well as it also applies to the relatives of the wife.
When asked about any plans for opening new unified service centers, he stressed that the State has opened 15 service centers distributed throughout the country, and six service offices located at Qatar Airways, Qatar Financial Center, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, and the Higher Committee for Inheritance and Projects, adding that new outlets will open when and where needed. Al Ateeq explained that the new administration for recruitment support services plays an important coordination role between Qatar and labor-exporting countries through Qatar Visa Centers abroad.
He said that the service centres opened in the labour-exporting countries complete the procedures for obtaining residency permits for new workers, where they go through biometrics, medical check-up and also sign employment contracts and according to the results, they are granted entry visas and a residency permit in Qatar.
In response to a question whether the attestation of an employment contract from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour is a prerequisite for obtaining the entry visa, he explained that it is necessary to make sure that employment contract is attested and all the relevant documents are available via electronic systems and used by Qatar Visa Centers abroad to complete the necessary procedures for the entry visa and granting a residency permit to work in the State of Qatar.
With regard to non-renewal of residency permit, the Director General of Passports said that any person who fails to renew his residency permit in the required time, is actually committing a violation of the provisions of the law of entry, exit and residence of foreigners in the State of Qatar. In case of the inability to renew the residency permit within the legal period which is three months, there is a fine of QR10 enforced by the law which is paid by the violator for each day of delay for non-renewal of residency permit and QR200 for the visitor who exceeded the permissible period.
In case of non-renewal, the residency of the expatriate in the country shall be considered illegal and shall be subject to legal prosecution and the penalty as prescribed by law.
Regarding the accumulation of these fines, Al Ateeq said these fines have a financial limit of QR12,000 as a maximum for violating the non-extension of the visit visa and QR6,000 for the violation of non-renewal of RP.
With regard to the exit permit for employees and their job transfer to another employer, he said: “After the issuance of law No. 21/2015 regulating the entry and exit and residence, a committee has been formed to look into the grievances and complaints of residents related to exit.”
The Committee responds to any complaint or request relating to exit permit within three working days and the resident is allowed to leave the country unless there is a travel ban by courts or public prosecution as in this case it is not allowed to leave the country that can be done only after the removal of the order prohibited by the justice authority.
When asked why people visit the General Directorate of Passports despite the effectiveness of the service of Matrash 2 and its availability in the hands of people, Maj. Gen. Al Ateeq explained that the State has made great strides in utilizing electronic services especially the Matrash2 system and most services are provided through online service.
The Directorate General of Passports strives to provide all services through this system and other electronic applications in the coming period, he added.
Regarding the visitors, he stressed that most of them are elderly or individuals who are unable to use this service or companies’ representatives who have a shortage of certain conditions or sometimes people make mistakes and they visit for their correction or on reasons related to the system when it does not accept their applications due to some deficiencies and requirements which are lacking.
Regarding unbridled labor, Al Ateeq said that the existence of this phenomenon is linked to the fake companies that bring employees and leave them without jobs or allow them to work with others, sometimes with their consent and sometimes without their consent. “We coordinate with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs and the security departments to carry out inspection campaigns, arrest violators and take legal action against them.”
He said that legal action is taken against companies that have hired them and companies that employ them illegally; as well many such companies were blacklisted and banned.
He added that the Ministry of Labour, scrutinises and examines the conditions of companies and their activities before agreeing to grant them permission to bring workers from abroad, and attest the contracts before saving them in the electronic system.
Al Ateeq stressed that this phenomenon has not disappeared permanently despite its significant decline. The situation is not like it used to be several years ago thanks to the strict measures taken by the concerned authorities against the fake companies violating the rules and rights of workers.
He added there were cases of unbridled labourers and workers being recruited without granting them jobs. “We also coordinate with the Embassies of their countries, cooperate in solving their problems, protect their rights by settling their situations in accordance with the law, and punish those who committed these violations.”
He added that the opening of Qatar Visa Centers abroad plays an important role in preventing such violations because the contracting process requires to ensure the integrity of the legal status of the company, its activities and also ensures the right of the worker, and these procedures eliminate the phenomenon of loose labor and protect rights of workers.
In this regard, he said, the General Directorate of Passports has plans to open new visa centres abroad in more countries. Currently, the focus is on Asian countries as main source of labour. He said that these centres will be opened in other labour-exporting countries, including Arab countries.
He said: “There are some workers who claim that the companies they work with have allowed them to work on their own.” He advised such workers not to violate the laws under the pretext that companies have allowed them because the company is the employer. If the company is unable to provide them with a job opportunity, they should look for another employer by resorting to the competent authorities to whom they should submit their complaints, Legal actions will be taken against the violating companies and the workers’ rights will be protected and their legal status will be rectified.
But if the worker is arrested without doing these procedures, it is considered an offending act same like the company that allowed him to do so, and action will be against them. At the end of the interview, Maj. Gen. Al Ateeq said that the law has become clear to all, including residents, and what we ask them to abide to its provisions.
“If they face a problem in renewing their RP, they should check with our concerned authorities before fines accumulation without complicating the problem and making their stay in the country illegal. It is best to address the problem at the earliest to avoid violation of law.”
Directing his talk to the citizens and residents, he said people should abide by the laws in force in the country because these laws laid the basis for their service. “We have awareness campaigns through the Department of Public Relations and inform citizens and residents of all new laws, regulations, systems or procedures related to the work of this department.
Source Credit: thepeninsulaqatar.com
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