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Traffic and Immigration in Qatar

Among the major issues that expats face in Qatar are related to transportation and immigration policies.

Qatar is one of the countries that are highly dependent on foreign workers, despite the fact, the immigration law of the country has been complex until the New Immigration Law came into enactment in 2017. The new law gave a bit clarity about provisions of exit, entry, residence and citizenship.

Traffic is another issue that occupied Qatar’ greatly. As per the last Qatar Traffic Report commuters spent an average of 109 extra hours on roads due to traffic congestion in Qatar in 2016 as against 102 extra hours in 2015. The increasing traffic congestions were caused due to various reasons increase in number of automobiles, construction blockades, diversions, lack of infrastructure and so on. As Ashghal is moving ahead with it’s ‘sustainable infrastructure drive ‘the construction diversions may again prove to be a major issue.

In order to understand the performances of the existing immigration and traffic services, the Department of Planning and Quality in the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has started a survey seeking opinion on the services provided by the General Directorate of Borders Passports and Expatriates Affairs, the unified services department at the Mesaimeer Service Center, and the General Directorate of Traffic in Madinat Khalifa-South.

The objective of the survey is to gain feedback on the services provided by the government departments to the expats and is to run till Thursday. The survey teams are distributing questionnaires, which include questions about the procedures carried out by the Department of Expatriate Affairs, the Department of Standard Services, and the General Directorate of Traffic.

The questions will be focussed on reception of people, speed of completion of their transactions and the response to their inquiries by staff and officers. Moreover the question will also seeks opinion on the facilities provided by the departments, including the provision of suitable waiting places for visitors, car parking, and services for people with special needs.

As per Telecommunications Department Director Brig Abdul Rahman Majid al Sulaiti statement in Qatar Tribune “The MoI attaches great importance to such surveys as it has an effective role in supporting the decision-making process and identifying the efficiency of the services, its shortcomings and obstacles to the termination of transactions through the electronic systems provided by the MoI on its website and the service of Metrash2.”

The survey will focus on understanding user experience of people to develop the efficiency of services, the extent of their knowledge about the availability of services provided by the departments and at the same time is also an effort to motivate them to complete their transactions online.

Though this is an initiative to take feedback from the people for improving the existing services online and offline, it will only be effective if considerable number of people participate in the survey and their feedback gets due consideration for improving the policy process later.

 

 

Qatar has the Middle East’s most competitive economy

Qatar has overtaken the UAE as having the most competitive economy in the MENA region, according to the results of a new survey.

According to the Swiss business school’s IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016, Qatar ranked 13th globally for the second year in a row, out of the 61 nations assessed. The only other Gulf country featured, the UAE, fell from 12th place last year to 15th this year.

Doha

Omar Chatriwala

Doha

Doha has been rated as among the top 10 cities in which to live in the Middle East and North Africa, according to results from a new survey.

Qatar’s capital came in 6th place overall out of 20 cities from 14 different countries in the region, results from the latest edition of the study conducted by online recruitment agency Bayt.com and market researchers YouGov show.

The study examined respondents’ attitudes to dozens of different factors under the themes of economic; labor rights; environmental; standard of living; socio-cultural; sports, arts and recreation and entrepreneurship.

Doha scored in the top half of the cities for all categories, although it didn’t come out on top in any one field.

Generally, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of people interviewed said they very or somewhat happy in their city of residence, while 14 percent were somewhat unhappy or not happy at all.

This compares to 83 percent for Abu Dhabi and 79 percent each for Manama and Muscat. Meanwhile, only a quarter (26 percent) of Beirut residents felt happy about living there.

However, respondents from cities in the Emirates were consistently more upbeat about where they live, and it is the two main cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai that took the top spots respectively overall for the region.

Top 10 MENA cities

Bayt.com/YouGov

Top 10 MENA cities

How Doha did

Qatar’s capital fared well in many of the “standard of living” indicators, which were rated as “good” or “excellent” by 83 percent for a low crime rate, 77 percent for clean roads and streets, 71 percent for stable political environment and 70 percent for feeling of stability and serenity.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

MMUP

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

More than half of those questioned had positive responses to the city’s availability of parks and gardens (54 percent good or excellent) and quality of education (54 percent).

However, people didn’t score Doha as highly in some surprising categories, including availability of jobs, with slightly more than a third (39 percent) rating it as good or excellent.

And, more than fifth of respondents scored Doha as poor or bad for offering competitive salaries.

Other surveys

Some of the conclusions were at odds with another recent international survey measuring the quality of life for expats.

In last month’s HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey 2015, Qatar ranked 22nd out of 39 countries, and had notably dropped from 13th place last year.

For illustrative purposes only

arwcheek/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only

It scored poorly for “expat experience”, particularly due to the high cost of accommodation, culture and health.

Rising rent prices are repeatedly cited in surveys and anecdotally by expats as a downside of life in Qatar.

While 54 percent of respondents in the Bayt/YouGov survey said the availability of affordable housing in Doha was bad or poor, more than a fifth (22 percent) rated it as good or excellent.

Beirut scored the worst, with three-quarters of its residents saying housing in the Lebanese city was poor or bad, while nearly half of those living in Manama rated their accommodation availability as good or excellent.

When asked about labor rights, Qatar came in 8th position, with more than a third (33 percent) rating its record as bad or poor, and just a quarter as good or excellent.

Abu Dhabi came in top, with Dubai second. Doha was behind the Saudi Eastern Province, but ahead of Riyadh and Kuwait City.

Thoughts?