Qatar said to ban new expats with kidney disease

Newbie foreigners planning to live in Qatar may be denied a residency permit if they are found to be suffering from kidney disease, according to a local media report.

The Doha News report, which cited as its source comments in an Arabic language media outlet Al Raya, attributed to the director of Qatar’s medical commission department, said  the decision to disallow residence permits to kidney disease suffers was part of the government’s strategy of seeking to “ease Qatar’s overstretched healthcare system”.

In addition, the online Doha News said, Ibrahim Al-Shaar told Al Raya that “new tests for tuberculosis and hepatitis C will also be added to the check-up process for expats in the ‘coming time’ “.

“The medical commission department is the first line of defense for public health in Qatar by preventing the entry of certain diseases,” Al-Shaar added, according to the Doha News.

Currently immigrants or visitors wishing to stay in Qatar for longer than a month are screened for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, according to a government website. Those who test positive are normally deported.

However, those already living in Qatar are not automatically deported. In 2012, Al JAzeera reported that  expats with a “stable” family life and job are allowed to stay and receive treatment, which is provided for free, the Doha News said, adding that low-wage blue collar workers had a “much slimmer chance” of being allowed to stay.

Qatar provides free emergency healthcare for expats, as long as they have purchased a health card, which costs 100 Qatari rials (£20, US$27).

According to Al Raya, Al-Shaar said that the decision to begin testing arriving foreigners intending to reside in Qatar for kidney disease came after officials at a hospital which tends to handle the expat screenings reported seeing an increase in cases of kidney failure, and individuals who required dialysis, the Doha News said.

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