Qatar's decision last week to grant residency rights to expatriate workers is merely a "PR stunt," Mohamed Abdelmeguid, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC via telephone.
Abdelmeguid said that the decision was "another way of trying to shore up confidence among expats and Qataris," following the government's realization that its sanctioned economy cannot rely on the mere 300,000 Qatari nationals in the state of approximately 2.6 million people.
The Qatari government approved a bill to grant certain expats residency rights last week. Non-Qataris are eligible if certain conditions are met: they are the children of Qatari women married to foreigners, or have performed "great services to the state," or else have required "special competencies," according to the Qatar News Agency (QNA).
The QNA detailed that a permanent residency card grants a number of privileges such as the use of education and health care institutions, and being second priority for recruiting after Qatari nationals themselves. Those granted the status can also own property, "in accordance with the executive decisions to be issued by the Council of Ministers."