Today, September 25, 2019, the Philippines becomes one of the first sites for a Qatar Visa Center, an important gateway for Filipino workers and tourists traveling to the Arab State of Qatar.
Officials from the Qatar government, aside from those at its embassy in the Philippines, flew in for the inauguration of the center that can accommodate 350 visa applicants daily. It opens from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
With the establishment of the visa center, it is expected as Qatari officials pointed out, that it will be an easier time with less expense for Filipinos wishing to travel to Qatar.
By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter @edd1819, Instagram @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
GOING to the Arab State of Qatar either as worker or tourist has just been made easier.
To date, there are more than 350,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Qatar.
To help Filipinos make their travel to Qatar, one of the six members of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), much easier, and less hassle, the Embassy of Qatar opened on Wednesday, September 25, the Qatar Visa Center (QVC) at the National University (NU) Building, SM Mall of Asia Complex, in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
Qatar Ambassador to the Philippines Ali Ibrahim Al-Malki and Major Abdullah Khalifa Al-Mohannadi, director of Visa Support Services Department; Ali Mohammed Al-Meer of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs; and Dr. Ibrahim Al-Shaar, director of Medial Commission Department, jointly presided over the inauguration.
Secretary Abdullah Mamao, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other foreign and Filipino dignitaries joined the event as the QVC heralded an easier time and expense for Filipinos who want to go to the Arab state.
Al-Malki cited the significance of the center’s opening, describing it as “a result of Qatar’s policy that aims to enhance the labor relations with the Philippines, as well as the ties among its people, pushing them forward to a brighter future.”
The Qatari officials at the inauguration said the visa center is around 1,500 square meters and can accommodate 350 visa applicants a day.
Among the many services provided by the one-stop-shot center include enrollment of biometrics and provision for medical checkups, etc.
Ambassador Al-Malki emphasized the strong bilateral ties between his country and the Philippines, even as he and the other Qatari officials who flew in for the inauguration thanked the government under President Rodrigo R. Duterte for helping facilitate the visa center’s establishment.
They cited the Philippines as an especial source of skilled workers for their country, adding Filipino workers and other foreign expatriates have been helping in Qatar’s development and rise to a modern nation.
Al-Malki noted the Philippines is one of the first countries to host the visa center.
“Choosing the Philippines to one of the first countries which Qatar visa centers are launched, reflects the great interest of the State of Qatar to strengthen its bilateral relations with the Philippines in various fields,” the ambassador emphasized.
“The launching of Qatar Visa Center today in Manila underscores Qatar’s growing desire for Filipino workforce, as well as for other foreign migrants to work or live in Qatar.”
Al-Malki added the center’s opening “also assures the constant endeavor of his country in providing the best decent life and appropriate work environment for the migrant workers.”
In welcoming the presence of expatriates in his country, the ambassador said expatriates have made significant contributions Qatar’s development.
Al-Malki said Qatar’s main objective for the center’s establishment is meant “to simplify and expedite all the procedures for acquiring entry visas to Qatar, either for work or residence purposes.”
Mamao welcomed the center’s setting up of the center, saying it is definitely a boon to the growing ties between the Philippines and the Arab country.
He said he hopes other embassies of members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would follow the lead of Qatar and establish their visa center also.
The government of Qatar thanked the Philippines.
“We have coordinated with the Philippine government (for the center’s establishment); we are grateful for the Philippine government for facilitating the establishment of the center,” Al-Meer said.
Aside from Qatar, the other members of the AGCC are Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In press statement, the Embassy of Qatar emphasized the government of Qatar “directly supervised by Qatar government authorities where OFWs can complete their medical tests and biometric enrolment requirements within a shorter period.”
The visa center, which opens from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, is under the mandate of the Ministry of Interior.
Its establishment followed and abides by international standards that guarantee greater transparency, traceability and improved measures and security screening mechanisms for visa applicants. (SDN)
Updated, September 25, 6:27 p.m. to input Ambassador Ali Ibrahim Al-Malki’s statement.
All images by SDN — Science and Digital News.