GCC summit welcomes unified visa application (Reuters)

Doha: The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has authorized interior ministers to take the necessary measures to implement the unified Gulf tourist visa, welcoming the efforts made by the Committee of Interior Ministers in this regard, according to the final communiqué issued by the meeting of leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held in Doha today.

According to the unified Gulf tourist visa system, those who obtain an entry visa or residence permit in one of the six GCC countries will be able to enter the rest of the countries with the same visa, similar to the Schengen visa that links the European Union countries to each other.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, chaired the work of the 44th Gulf Summit held on Tuesday in Doha, which reviewed the developments of the steps taken to achieve integration among the GCC countries and the most prominent issues of common interest, foremost of which was the situation in the Gaza Strip.

The GCC Interior Ministers had approved the unified Gulf tourist visa project during the 40th meeting held in the Omani capital Muscat on the eighth of last November, provided that the application is carried out according to a specific timetable, with the aim of contributing to facilitating and smooth the movement of residents and tourists between the six GCC countries.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, stressed that the unified Gulf tourist visa project is a new achievement added to the achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council, under the directives of the leaders of the GCC countries who paid attention to the achievements of Gulf security cooperation.

⬅️ #قمة_الدوحة approves the unified Gulf tourist visa

⭕️ The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council in a dialogue with the East
conducted by Mr. Jaber Al-Harami, Editor-in-Chief of @jaberalharmi pic.twitter.com/A4WYfGVJjn

— Al Sharq Newspaper – Qatar (@alsharq_portal) December 3, 2023

Keeping pace with development

Nasser Al-Athba, a professor of international law at Qatar University, said that the unified Gulf tourist visa undoubtedly keeps pace with the development witnessed by the Gulf countries and is an imperative necessity to continue the renaissance and modernity that all Gulf countries are going through.

Al-Athba added in an interview with Al Jazeera Net, that the presence of a lot of competencies in the Gulf countries and their movement between these countries comfortably makes these competencies strengthen the Gulf economy as a single unit and not as multiple units, hence the importance of registering this mobility, which the new visa helps in.

The same spokesman stated that many companies in the Gulf countries can easily switch from local companies within the countries in which they operate to international Gulf companies, where the manager of a company in Saudi Arabia, for example, can easily move to another country to finish the business himself, which facilitates the acceleration of investments and push for the expansion of the opening of branches of local companies outside the framework of their work within their country and then turn these companies from local to international and regional and perhaps in the future. Arab and international.

He explained that the unified visa has a significant positive impact, especially on the tourism sector and then the economy in general, stressing that economic integration needs this step, but within certain controls.

Al-Athba specified these controls by limiting the granting of this visa to those with specific salaries and certain jobs, and that its issuance is linked to the criminal status sheet for those who want it, so that the newspaper is white to ensure that no one escapes or commits any legal violations while moving from one country to another.

Urgent | #قمة_الدوحة: Authorizing the Ministers of Interior to take the necessary measures to implement the unified Gulf visa https://t.co/g5jY4YUGk8

— Rai (@AlraiMediaGroup) December 5, 2023

Economic advantages

Economist Abdul Rahim Al-Hour confirms to Al Jazeera Net that the advantages of the unified visa are many, pointing out that the opening of geographical areas in one region is a big and important step in strengthening the main axes of the comprehensive component of the region.

He explained that this means several axes, the first of which is to enhance economic activity in all its components, tourism and intra-trade, the opportunity to open markets for new projects, enhance the operating efficiency of the workforce in the region, and unify legislation and laws regulating tourism, transport, education or communications.

The economist pointed out the importance of this step being the beginning of expanding the scope of the common visa in neighboring countries to promote the same concepts and achieve the same benefits, citing the European experience, which achieved great positive results after the introduction of the Schengen visa, which benefited at all levels.

In the same context, Al-Hour pointed out that the exceptional benefit of the privacy of the Gulf countries lies in the fact that they are multinational countries of the workforce, and therefore opening the door to mobility for residents will constitute the largest volume of mobility, investment, tourism and consumption at the same time, as moving to a new place opens opportunities to operate hotels, transportation and commercial markets, which is of course a great benefit for the country that receives these visitors.

Al-Hour did not rule out the existence of negatives to the new system, but stressed that they are not compared to the size of the benefits and positives that will be achieved as a result of the new system, and warned of the possibility of security challenges for the Gulf countries to control matters with regard to preventing the spread of organized crime, money laundering, drugs and others, pointing out that this is accompanied by legislation and governing regulations to ensure the success of the new system.

Doha Summit Approves Interior Ministers' Decisions at November 8 Meeting and Stresses Importance of Strengthening Joint Security Action

• The leaders welcomed the efforts of the Committee of Interior Ministers regarding the unified GCC visa, adopting what has been reached and authorizing the interior ministers to take the necessary measures for implementation pic.twitter.com/OJkofOos24

— Kuwait News (@KuwaitNews) December 5, 2023

Implementation controls

Al-Hour added that the most prominent advantages of the new system is the ease of movement of people, which results in a possible increase in tourism activities in all countries of the region, thus providing many economic benefits and increasing cooperation among the GCC countries.

The economist explained that the new system requires focusing on implementation controls so as to ensure data privacy throughout the GCC countries, stressing that the method of implementation requires full coordination between countries to ensure the protection of local systems and laws of each country and ensure the possibility of any country to set additional conditions.

Source : Al Jazeera