Plans are reportedly underway to hire 10,000 skilled and semi-skilled Indonesian workers to work in Qatar, according to the country’s new ambassador in Doha.
The agreement to open up more positions for Indonesian professionals and craftspeople follows a visit by President Joko Widodo to Qatar in September.
The move would significantly increase the 50,000 strong Indonesian population currently living and working in Qatar, Qatar Tribune reported.
No timeline has been given for when the new arrangements might start or which roles would be included, and the Indonesian Embassy in Qatar was not available for comment.
The agreement follows the enforcement late last year of a ban of all Indonesians from working as domestic staff in Qatar and the wider region, which was announced in early 2015 by Widodo.
The ban, which stopped new workers from traveling abroad as domestic staff, was introduced to preserve the “pride and dignity” of the country’s citizens, Widodo said.
Speaking to the Qatar Tribune this week, the new Indonesian ambassador to Qatar Muhammad Basri Sidehabi said a number of new deals between the two states are ongoing.
Some have been in negotiations for years, said Sidehabi, who was officially appointed on Feb. 14.
This reportedly includes a request by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) from 2011 to acquire 20,000 hectares of land in Indonesia to grow rice.
Widodo had already requested this agreement be accelerated, the Qatar-based diplomat added.
As a state that imports more than 90 percent of its foodstuffs, improving food security is one of Qatar’s priorities and the QIA has numerous international agreements aimed at diversifying where the country sources its food from in the coming years.
Opening up the Qatari market, as well as other states in the Middle East, to the import of Indonesian coffee is another priority for his country, Sidehabi added.
Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing to increase the number of Indonesian destinations for national flag carrier Qatar Airways.
While the airline currently flies to
three two locations in the country – the capital Jakarta and Bali Denpasar and Surabaya – it had initially asked for seven destinations, Sidehabi reportedly said.
The diplomat said he was discussing with Widodo about expanding this list to five destinations, with the addition of Medan in North Sumatra and Makassar on the island of Sulawesi.
Note: This story has been edited to reflect that Qatar Airways currently flies to two destinations in Indonesia, not three as previously reported.