The first overseas Qatar Visa Centre (QVC) was inaugurated in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Thursday as part of Qatar’s efforts to facilitate and streamline procedures for bringing expatriates to work.

The QVC was launched by Qatar’s ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr Rashid bin Shafea al-Marri in the presence of several dignitaries.

Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidali, assistant undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the Ministry of Administrative Development,Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA); Mohamed Abdullah al-Sobaie, director of the Department of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA); Major General Abdullah Salim al-Ali, adviser to HE the Minister of Interior; Major General Mohamed Ahmad al-Ateeq, director of the General Directorate of Passports at the Ministry of Interior (MoI); Dr Ibrahim al-Shar, director of the Medical Commission; Major Abdullah Khalifa al-Mohannadi, director of the Recruitment Support Services Department at the Passports Directorate; and Salman Mohamed Kaladari, head of Single Window, were among the Qatari dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony.

The Qatar Visa Centre in Sri Lanka

The event was also attended by eminent dignitaries from Sri Lanka, including Ravindra Samaraweera, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations, Sri Lanka; Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, Minister of State for National Unity and Co-Existence, Sri Lanka; Panagoda Don Prince Soloman Anura Liyanage, Sri Lankan ambassador to Qatar; Ravi Karunanayake, Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka; Sheikh Juma bin Hamdan bin Hassan al Malik al-Shuhi, Oman's ambassador to Sri Lanka; and Zuhair Hamdallah Zaid, Palestine's ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, ambassador al-Marri thanked the Sri Lankan ministers and other dignitaries and guests attending the ceremony.

“The Qatar Visa Centre in Sri Lanka is the first of its kind in the world, and Colombo has been selected to open the first QVC due to the distinguished relations between the two countries,” he said.

On his part, Major al-Mohannadi said: "As part of Qatar's keenness to protect the rights of expatriates and facilitate their work procedures, the Qatar Visa Centre has been opened in Sri Lanka.”

A section of the Qatar Visa Centre in Sri Lanka

He noted that this step “reflects Qatar's keenness to ensure the protection and safety of expatriates, as the Qatar Visa Centres abroad will enable the completion of recruitment procedures through one channel easily within a shorter period”.

The QVC will provide services such as fingerprinting, biometric data process, medical examinations and the signing of employment contracts.

He said the service aims to ensure the speedy completion of expatriate workers’ transactions so that they can start work immediately after entering Qatar, and avoid cases of workers returning to their home country if found that they are not fit for the role for which they are recruited, according to an MoI statement.

After the ceremony, the attendees and guests toured the centre and learned about the various departments and units there and the facilities available.

They also learned about the mechanism of work procedures from the time a person enters the centre’s hall until signing the contract and obtaining a work visa.

The opening of the QVC in Sri Lanka comes through a partnership between the MoI, the MADLSA, Ministry of Public Health and MoFA.

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