To work in Qatar, it is compulsory to be in possession of a valid residence permit and a work visa. Administrative procedures to get legal authorizations to live and work in Qatar are often complex: first, you must find a "sponsor", ie a local employer wishing to hire you. The sponsor initiates the work visa application by requesting to the Ministry of Interior of Qatar all legal authorizations to hire a foreign worker. The sponsor has a particular role to play since he must vouch for you whether when you open a bank account or when you sign a rental lease in the country.
Once the procedure is getting under way, foreign workers must then travel to Qatar with a single entry visa, valid for at least three months so as to carry out all compulsory administrative procedures and apply for a residence visa once there. Contact the diplomatic representation of Qatar in your area for more information about entry visa applications
Once in Qatar, you must get a residence permit and a work visa. Local companies generally undertake visas and permits procedures for their expatriate employees. However, blood tests and x-rays are compulsory. HIV testings are also performed; in case of infection, you must leave the country. Fingerprinting is also performed.
Once the residence permit and work visa in your possession, you will be allowed to work in Qatar. Note that you must work for your sponsor only; if you want to take another job, a minimum period of two years in employment with your original sponsor is compulsory. After two years, and if you want to take another job with another sponsor, your employer must give you a certificate: this is called the NOC ("No Objection Certificate"). Sponsorship can not be transferred to another employer if you don't receive your NOC from your initial sponsor.
Holders of work visas can bring their families with them. They must sponsor residence permits for their spouses and children under 25 years old. Women can now sponsor residence permits for their husbands. The residence permit do not allow employement in Qatar. If dependants wish to work in Qatar, they must in turn find a sponsor and undertake the administrative procedures for obtaining a work permit.
If a foreign worker must temporarily leave Qatar, an exit visa is compulsory. The exit visa do not apply for dependants.
Good to know:
Once in Qatar, it is necessary to get a local identity card containing your personal information (type of visa you hold, nationality etc..) To apply for a "smart ID card", visit the Government of Qatar online to find out more about the smart ID card and the application procedure at http://www.gov.qa/.
Qatar Ministry of Interior
Qatar Government Online - smart ID card
Embassy of Qatar in the United States - About work permits