Targeting foreign investors
The move to issue long-term visas is aimed at diversifying the country’s economy, the newspaper said. Officials believe that issuing long-term visas could attract foreign investors to the country. Those who are willing to invest in any sector of the country can be granted a longer-term visa by waiving the existing visa rules. The report also said that more people are expected to invest in the country once visa and travel restrictions are eased.
Who can get a long-term visa?
Long-term visas are issued to foreigners who are capable of strengthening the country’s economy in any way. In addition to foreign investors, long-term visas are issued to expatriates, company owners, long-term resident and financially well-off individuals, government employees, and those who can afford to live without a job. But the procedures related to this have not been finalized.
There will be a change in the sponsorship system
With the introduction of the new visa system, the current Kafala system or sponsorship system in the country will change. Holders of long-term visas do not need sponsorship. They can get a visa under their own sponsorship. With the change in the sponsorship system, the existing restrictions on matters including travel will no longer apply to them. The project aims to attract more foreign investment to the country through such changes. Al-Qabas reported that a preliminary understanding had been reached as to which areas should be granted the new visa benefit. The draft is being prepared jointly by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Public Authority for Manpower.
Visit visa holders will not receive a work permit
Meanwhile, the Public Authority for Manpower has clarified that those who come to the country on a commercial visit visa cannot switch to a work permit. The ban came into effect from yesterday. However, those who have already started the visa change process can complete it. Al-Rai reported, citing official sources, that anyone currently in the country on a visit visa can no longer switch to a work visa. The decision was based on the recommendation of the Ministerial Committee on Kovid Control. The newspaper also said that the spread of Kovid in foreign countries was on the rise. The cabinet meeting held last October had allowed entry into the country on visit visas. They were also given permission by the Manpower Authority to switch to a work permit. That is what has changed now.