Mideast: 20,000 work permits for Palestinians from Qatar

Employment relations between PNA and Doha reopened

03 February, 12:46

    A construction site in Qatar in preparation for 2022 World Cup A construction site in Qatar in preparation for 2022 World Cup

    (by Michele Monni) (ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH - Qatar has decided to issue 20,000 work permits for Palestinian citizens, re-opening employment relations between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the Gulf emirate after an eight-year hiatus. 'It is a very important initiative', PNA spokesman Ihab Bazeeso told ANSA. 'Each year thousands of engineers, doctors and computer scientists graduate from Palestinian universities but lack of work (youth unemployment in the West Bank touches 40%, according to recent data) forces them to accept anything', he said.

    Palestinian ambassador to Qatar Munir Ghannam told Doha News that permits 'are a direct response to a request made by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah' during a visit to Qatar at the end of last year.

    The first permits, according to Ghannam, should be issued this week and would allow those in possession of Palestinian identity papers - including those without a passport - of working in Qatar, where thousands of Palestinians have already been living for years. Many Gulf States have quotas to limit the number of foreign workers and in Qatar the quota for Palestinian workers so far was zero, Shannan said.

    In order to help the hiring process, respective ministries are creating a database on which Palestinians can post their CVs so firms in Qatar can select their candidates. All citizens in the West Bank and Gaza are eligible for a work permit, said Ghannam, although it is still unclear if permits include workers' family members.

    Relations between Qatar and PNA have sensibly improved over the past two years: last November the emirate donated some 150 million dollars to support action of the government of President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and was one of the main investors in the Rawabi project, the new Palestinian city conceived by Bashar al-Masri, who is related to Munib, the Palestinian billionaire from Nablus. The emirate in the past two years has been an active sponsor of the reunification of the two Palestinian factions al-Fatah and Hamas with a declaration of intent signed in 2012 by Abbas and Khaled Meshal in the Qatari capital.


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