What happens to healthcare in a country where there’s a rapidly expanding population of expatriates?
Healthcare and the law in Qatar
Well, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that without significant investment it would deteriorate rapidly.
Expats and would-be investors should consider the implications of recently proposed healthcare changes. These changes will come into force next year with expats needing to ensure they have private healthcare plans in place.
One of the major draws of investing in healthcare in Qatar is that a Qatari partner may not be needed.
Companies in certain sectors are eligible, pending Ministerial approval, to open as 100% foreign owned. These include: agriculture, health, IT, education, the development of natural resources and energy, mining and tourism.
Suffice to say, the favourable economic climate and rapid increase in demand for private healthcare in Qatar brings with it a wealth of potential for would-be investors.
What are the major issues surrounding healthcare?
However, healthcare law in Qatar has all too-often been depicted in Western media as something of a minefield. Whilst there is an element of truth to this, with the right know-how and a proper understanding of the legislature in Qatar potential pitfalls can be side-stepped.
From the first quarter of next year though, these very same expats who form the backbone of the Qatari financial system will have to seek private health insurance rather than relying on subsidized medical care provided by the state.
In many cases, this compulsory health insurance will be provided by employers, though self-employed expats will of course need to arrange their own policy.
It’s already recommended that expats purchase their healthcare privately to avoid some of the bureaucracy and complications of Qatari law with regard to national healthcare.
Qatar is a country experiencing transition and that has a clear vision of where and what it wants to be in the future. It is both and interesting and pivotal time for the healthcare sector in Qatar.
The privatisation of the nation’s healthcare will also provide an outstanding opportunity for foreign businesses to invest in Qatar.
Healthcare in Qatar is already internationally recognised and of a high standard, comparable to other developed countries. The new changes in the law were made to increase competition and give the industry an even greater boost.
I believe that whilst there are potential stumbling blocks to investing in healthcare over here, with the right help and knowledge these can be successfully navigated around.
James Swallow is Commercial Director of Middle East based PRO Partner Group. PRO Partner Group specialises in providing foreign investors with a seamless and financially efficient means to setting up a profitable corporate presence in the UAE, Qatar and Oman.