Got a kidney disease? You're not welcome in Qatar

Got a kidney disease? You're not welcome in Qatar
Kidney diseases will be added to the list of illnesses that can get expatriates denied a job and residency in Qatar, media reports suggest.
2 min read
19 January, 2016
Qatar is heavily reliant on foreign labour [Getty]
Expatriates with kidney diseases will face being deported from Qatar, a senior medical official in the Gulf state told local media.

Renal illness will be added to a list of other ailments which can put foreign workers on a flight out of the country and denied re-entry.

Ibrahim al-Shaar, director of Qatar's medical commission department, told al-Raya newspaper that foreigners found with kidney diseases during mandatary medical screening will be denied residency and expelled from the country.

Doha already screens expatriates for AIDS/HIV, syphilis, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C before granting residency.

The medical source added that further tests will be added in the future, but this marks the first time a non-communicable illness has been put on the list.

"The medical commission department is the first line of defence for public health in Qatar, by preventing the entry of certain diseases," said Shaar.

The move will also reduce the strain on Qatar's health service, the official added. Between 250 and 300 new patients in Qatar require dialysis every year, said medical officials.

Other Gulf countries also have similar residency policies and bar entry to those with HIV.

But even when expatriates pass the initial tests they are still not safe from further screening. 

Authorities can demand foreign workers conduct further medical tests if they believe them to be carrying one of the "banned" diseases.

Around one percent of expatriates who have taken their medical tests fail and have been declared unfit to work or live in the Gulf state since the prgramme began several years ago.

This includes 5,904 cases of dormant tuberculosis, according to Doha News.

Some individuals found to have contracted HIV or AIDS have been allowed to stay in the country if they had a "stable" family life and work, the Doha-based daily added.

However, labourers with the disease are almost certain to be denied residency, the paper added.

A 2013 study found that 113 people living in Qatar had HIV or AIDs, one of the lowest rates in the world. Kidney disease, by contrast, is thought to affect around 13 percent of Qatar residents.