Qatar has approved a draft law that will grant permanent residency cards to some foreigners.

Those eligible for the card includes children of Qatari women married to foreigners, people with special talents needed by the state and others who have extended notable services to the country, according to local media reports.

Cardholders will be entitled to similar treatment as Qatari nationals in terms of access to state-run educational and healthcare services and will be prioritised next to locals for military and civilian government jobs.

Accordingly they would be allowed to own property and run certain commercial activities without a local partner.

It is understood that the cabinet will have to release executive regulations for the law before it comes into effect.

The law breaks the general norm among the GCC member-states where, except in free zone areas, foreigners need a local sponsor to live and run a business.