Qatar to use biometrics to speed up visas for Sri Lankan migrant workers

ECONOMYNEXT – The Qatar government will next week launch a new visa process system in Sri Lanka that includes biometrics and in-house medical tests, giving quicker entry for migrant workers and reducing exploitative practices.

A dedicated visa center for Qatar directly supervised by Qatari authorities will open in Colombo, making Sri Lanka the first country in the world to have one, and then be rolled out in other key South Asian cities, a statement said.

The process will have biometrics, which was earlier done when migrant workers landed in Qatar and will be a ‘one-stop’ process.

 “Henceforth, once the initial visa approval is issued by Qatar authorities, migrant workers can  complete the medical test and biometric enrolment requirements within their country of origin within a shorter period,” the statement said.

“The old visa process in Qatar requires medical testing, done at accredited laboratories plus a host of other requirements that could take sometimes weeks to get completed.”

Medical tests, a key component of the visa procedure that was conducted after the migrant worker reached Qatar will be available in-house at the Qatar Visa Center as part of the visa application processing and biometric enrollment regime.

These include blood tests and x-rays and administration of vaccinations as required by Ministry of Public Health, Qatar.

“Efficient recruiting is a critical part of a successful company since hiring the wrong person may cost plenty of money and time,” the statement said.

“Hence, improving recruitment process could benefit the employment process, cut off exploitative practices and help establish a more transparent and accountable procedure.”

It said biometric authentication, introduced as a vital element of the new Qatar visa system, will drastically mitigate identity replacements, false dates of birth and other loopholes used randomly in pink collar or female house worker categories.  

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The Qatar visa center will be managed by Biomet Visa Services Lanka, a subsidiary of Biomet Services, a service provider authorized by the State of Qatar.

The convenience that biometrics can bring to this ecosystem is unprecedented, said Suhail Shaikh, Business Head, Biomet Services.
 
Sri Lankan worker remittances from Qatar accounted for US$ 400-500 million, out of $7.16 billion worker remittances in 2017 with migrants expected to double to reach 300,000 in the next couple of years.
(COLOMBO, 05 October 2018)
 

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