A state in India, Kerala, is delighted with the new regime of Qatar that allows visa free entry, since India is also included in the list, people in Kerala are pretty happy as the state sends most number of people to Qatar.
Many educated and unskilled workers have moved to Qatar in search of work over the years. Kerala became a fully literate state two decades ago and most of the people land in Qatar every year.
The print and visual media covered every inch of the announcement for obvious reasons, given the importance of the decision to the people of state.
“My excitement is a bit dimmed because I can’t bring my wife as she is pregnant,” says Arun Raj Punnoli who has recently married and who works with a leading airline in the region. “This is a godsend for many of us who can’t afford running after procedures for prolonged days.”
“On a larger level, this will help people of different cultures to connect in this increasingly polarised world. This is at a time when rich countries shutting their doors at people of less-privileged countries. Qatar, being a nation of wealth has really set an example, says AM Najeeb, president of Thanathu, a cultural organisation, quoting Malayalam poet ONV Kurup’s legendary ‘lokame tharavadu’ which can be roughly translated as ‘Whole world is our ancestral home’
“Qatar did this despite the pressure of blockade imposed on it,” said a Doha-based calligraphy artist Kareem Graphy Kakkove. “It proves that this small country is big at heart. This will no doubt endear Keralites more to Qatar.”
“As a research scholar, I feel this is a great move,” says NK Ayoob Rehman, who visited Qatar in March this year to accompany his friend Muhammed Vasil as a coauthor to present a research paper at 8th Annual international Translation conference held in Doha at Hamad bin Khalifa University.
“This would open great avenues for researchers and scholars to attend conferences and workshops without the hassle of securing a visa in top class institutes in Qatar,” Ayoob added.
This visa-free system is an attractive offer for the community, says Jabbar Chungathara, who’s hunting a job after his masters in journalism at Hyderabad’s prestigious English and Foreign Languages University. “It’s a tempting news for a newcomer and for the ones from traditionally migrant families. Best time to come and find a good job without tensions of money and time.”
Dr Auswaf Ahsan, a publisher running Other Books in Kozhikode, who came to Doha last November for Doha International Book Fair at DECC said: “Next time I can come with larger entourage, because we had difficulty attending people with enough attention. More people means we can come with bigger stocks, he laughed.
According to the reports, Gulf expats send back almost Rs1 trillion every year to their home, to make it simple, a man from every third household works in Gulf Arab countries. Their remittances form almost a third of Kerala’s state domestic product of about Rs3 trillion.
However, one resident in Doha who refused to be quoted said he fears a rise in house rent. “On the event of parents and relatives visiting, some families may want to shift to bigger dwellings. That demand may create a chaos.” he added.
One Twitter handle, @cpt_t88 (Captain Tsubasa) responded to The Peninsula report: “For FamilyVisitVisa if Qatar excludes 1 required document: Residential tenancy contract, this will ease visa process & give boost to tourism”
Meanwhile, many from Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh expressed disappointment after being left out from the list.