The Arab state of Qatar has announced the forcible expulsion of at least 9,000 mostly Pakistani illegal immigrants during a three-month campaign which will allow them to be kicked out without gaining a criminal record.
The invaders have until December 1 to leave Qatar, after which they will be arrested and charged under the country’s strict immigration laws.
Illegal immigrants wait at Qatar’s “Search and Follow up Department,” which is processing the claims of those being deported.
According to a report in Pakistan’s the News newspaper, the estimated 9,000 illegal immigrants currently living in Qatar without authorization are expected to take up the government’s offer of criminal record-free expulsion.
“I estimate that by the end of the amnesty, the number will reach 9,000,” Brigadier Abdullah Jaber Al-Labda, in charge of the Ministry of Interior’s Search and Follow Up Department, which is processing the claims of those trying to leave, told media.
“When we first started the numbers weren’t high but we are coming to the end of the amnesty and it will speed up.”
There is no official figure given for how many illegal immigrants live in Qatar, and the News said it was a “highly sensitive” issue in a “country regularly criticized for the treatment of its almost two million-strong foreign workforce, ever since winning the right to host the 2022 football World Cup.”
In 2015, the Human Rights Watch organization revealed that Qatar has what it calls a “kafala” (or “sponsorship”) system to control its foreign workforce, which ties every foreigner’s right to reside in that country to a specific job.
If the worker loses that job—for whatever reason—their right of residence automatically expires, and they cannot even change jobs, as their visas are only valid for their original work.
Qatari nationality law is based on the concept of jus sanguinis (Latin: right of blood) which means that citizenship is transferred by descent, rather than geography.
Not even having a Qatari mother is good enough to qualify for citizenship, and even though there is a long process for foreigners to acquire naturalization (residence for 25 years), this never happens in practice, ensuring that the country’s citizenship lists always remain homogenous.
Strangely enough, there are no complaints from Western liberals about these racially-based laws or illegal immigration policies—which are common throughout the Middle East.