There are plans to open Qatar Visa Centres (QVCs) in two more countries, an official has said.
“We have plans to open QVCs in Kenya and Ethiopia,” Major Abdullah Khalifa al-Mohannadi, director of the Visa Support Services (VSS) Department at the General Directorate of Passports, Ministry of Interior, said in an exclusive interview to Gulf Times.
This will take the number of countries with QVCs to 10.
It was earlier announced that QVCs would be opened in eight countries - Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Tunisia. The first QVC was opened in October last year, in Sri Lanka, and since then these centres have come up in four more countries - Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal.
The QVCs are set up and operated in co-operation with the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Health.
“Qatar will have more than 20 QVCs by the end of this year,” Major al-Mohannadi said, adding that efforts are on to open more QVCs at the earliest.
The QVCs, Major al-Mohannadi explains, are aimed at simplifying recruitment and work visa procedures for expatriate workers. “An integrated recruitment system, enabled through the QVCs, is helping both employers and employees complete the procedures easily. Besides, the centres ensure the protection of their rights,” he said.
The cities where Qatar Visa Centres have been launched are Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh, Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi in India, and Kathmandu in Nepal - which was inaugurated on Wednesday.
“QVCs ensure transparency in completing the necessary procedures. They have brought in a very systematic wage protection system that prevents all kind of exploitation and illegal practices by intermediaries and brokers. Employees are now able to get electronic contracts, and this ensures job security and protection from any kind of exploitation,” al-Mohannadi noted, adding that the QVCs have put an end to illegal practices by brokers and intermediaries.
“The QVCs have brought the relevant procedures under a single-window system, and manpower and recruitment agencies are now obliged to follow this system,” he added.
Major al-Mohannadi said five more services will be added to QVCs in addition to the existing ones.
Currently, applicants are able to avail of services such as attestation, contract signing, biometric enrolment and medical checkup at QVCs. These services mitigate the wait by employees for the resident permit after once they arrive in Qatar. Also, medical checkup in the home country reduces the risk of serious diseases being carried to Qatar.
The QVCs help avoid cases of employees returning to their countries if they are found ineligible and allow employees to start working at the earliest after once they arrive in Qatar. Apart from English and Arabic, QVCs provide applicants with services in local languages. Help is extended to applicants through call centres while free SIM cards are also distributed to successful applicants before they leave for Qatar.
“Efforts are on to further simplify the procedures. If our efforts bear fruit, resident permits could be issued within one or two days after the immigrant arrives in Qatar,” the VSS official said.
“The QVCs have received a rousing welcome in every country where they have opened," he added.
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