A home away from home:
Live and work in Qatar
Qatar has very quickly become a desired destination for thousands of people due to a plethora of job opportunities, a high standard of living and an abundant amount of entertainment and leisure activities.
Qatar is a country that values its traditions and Islamic roots, but it is also a modern and progressive state in the region. The small Gulf peninsula is known as a natural gas and oil rich country which has helped to boost its economy greatly. Before the discovery of oil, Qataris were well-known as pearl divers and many of the royal family members today are descendants of these pearl merchants. Understanding that the distribution of natural gas and oil may not be sustainable, Qatar is currently working on diversifying its economy through investment in different national projects like education and technology development.
Over the past two decades Qatar has fast become the preferred destination for tens of thousands of job seekers from different parts of the world thanks to the large number of projects it launched in the fields of infrastructure, services, entertainment, urbanisation, education, media and tourism. This wave further increased after the country was chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup ten years ago, and the creation of many job opportunities in various fields prompted many young people with professional experience and scientific qualifications to contemplate moving to the Gulf country.
Official language: Arabic
Common language: English
OFFICIAL Religion: Islam
GDP (PPP, per CAPITA, 2020):
$138,910 (1st in the world)
Aerial photo of Doha, capital of Qatar
The population structure in Qatar reflects the remarkable presence of foreigners, as they constitute more than two-thirds of the country’s population, with the total number now exceeding 2.7 million.
In general, the lifestyle in Qatar is characterised by comfort and luxury, as it is one of the safest countries in the world. It is one of the best countries in the world in terms of per capita income in the world, and the cost of living there is also high.
Qatar offers a very good education system in both public and private schools; however, it is important to note that putting expat children in private schools is expensive and often there is a long waiting list, so pre-planning would be best.
It also has the highest-rated health care system in the Middle East that provides services to citizens and residents alike. The affordable structure is easily accessible with a government-issued health card and if you are working in the government sector, you are more likely to have health insurance provided for you. This health system has also been shown to be effective in dealing with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, Qatar ranked sixth on a list of 63, mostly high-income countries, for economic performance with observers saying that Qatar will be one of the first countries to bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic.
Unemployment rate in Qatar
Qatar ranked sixth on a list of 63, mostly high-income countries
The average for a one-bedroom apartment in City Centre of Doha
People in Qatar are known to be very kind, friendly and hospitable. Arabic is the commonly spoken language and it is the official language of the country, but English is also widely spoken.
Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world where even petty crime is rare — this makes it a very fitting place to raise children. Mothers also have groups and activities to engage with that can further help new families meet people and get advice.
The majority of public places are accessibility friendly and there are many services in place to help the special needs community.
Expats and visitors are expected to respect the local culture and traditions during their time in the country. Qatar is a majority Muslim country that values traditions and family life. Qatari women tend to wear the hijab (headscarf) and abaya (loose overgarment) when going out and men wear an ankle-length white garment known as Thobes with a ghutra (head cloth).
One of the ways people are expected to respect the local culture is through the way they dress. Women are expected to dress modestly and cover their shoulders and knees and men are expected to cover up too — being shirtless or wearing flimsy tank tops are not okay in public. It is not compulsory for a woman visiting or living in the country to wear a headscarf but they are required to dress modestly. The same is applied to the work environment where either business dress or business casual is preferred.
For everyday necessities, the expenses are fairly regular, not too expensive but not too cheap either. Local and regional products are well priced, however, items that are from abroad and away from the region will be more expensive due to shipping.
Petrol is very cheap which means that almost anyone can afford it regularly. There are also no taxes to be paid on any of the items purchased in Qatar. To gain a rough idea of the cost of living in Qatar here is a helpful list by Numbeo: Numbeo – Cost of Living in Qatar.
Most government jobs offer housing for their employees, if that is not available they usually include a housing allowance. Renting is the most common housing method among residents and the prices vary depending on the location. The average for a one-bedroom apartment in City Centre is at around QAR 5,514 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment is averaged at QAR 10,500 per month. Whether renting or purchasing property, click here for price ranges and averages regarding the housing market in Qatar: Numbeo – Property Prices in Qatar.
Most people living in Qatar get around through driving their own cars, this is largely because Qatar’s warm climate does not allow for walking around the country. As far as public transportation goes, Qatar has recently opened up the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram which connects passengers to some of the main spots in the country.
For more practicality, Mowasalat (Karwa) has a wide variety of transportations available like a Taxi and Limousine service (similar to Uber), Public Service buses, and Private Bus Rentals. Karwa services can be booked through their apps. There is also a selection of car rental services available like STRONG Rent A Car.
If you are someone who enjoys travel, one of the best airlines in the world that operates to a large number of destinations is situated here, Qatar Airways.
Nightlife in Qatar and alcohol
Alcohol is only available at hotels and not in public spaces. Bars and nightclubs are available across the country; however, they are not very public. The most known is the members-only nightclub called The Pearl Lounge and it is located in Ras Abou Aboud St Doha Marriott Hotel, Doha.
Many hotels have an in-house club for their residents to enjoy. Click here for a guide to Qatar’s nightlife scene: Doha Nightlife.
Qatar has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at under 1% and has zero personal tax. Therefore, it is no secret that Qatar is an attractive destination for expats to find work, although mostly for a temporary time.
For more information on employment, business and life in Qatar visit the official government portal Hukoomi.
Searching for а job
If you are searching for a job in Qatar, here is a list of places for you to find some:
3. Official websites of companies and organisations in Qatar.
4. Business-friendly social media, such as LinkedIn.
5. Web forums
for official employment
After securing the job, work with your company/business to get some vital paper work done. In order to get into the country, the company must be your sponsor and get you a temporary visa.
Once you have arrived, the company should help to get you a Work Residence Permit since you won’t be able to start work without it. To acquire a work permit, which is a process that usually takes 2-4 weeks (sometimes longer), you will need your passport and qualification certificates. You will also have to do a few medical check-ups that include a blood test for HIV and TB, and a chest X-ray, fingerprints will also be taken. If there are any other documentations needed, the company should let you know.
It is also important to remember that you cannot leave the country during the visa-to-permit process. Once someone acquires this permit, many services, licences and other permits become available for the person to apply for. If the person wishes to change jobs they can cancel their visa to get another one from a different employer.
Family Residence Visa
Once a person has a work permit, they can sponsor their immediate family members to visit or live with them in Qatar.
Some of the documents required for this include, authenticated marriage and birth certificates, no objection letter and salary certificates from employers. The family members must also have individual Family Residence Visa (even for infants).
This visa can last between 1-5 years until renewal and is stamped on their passports. If a woman is in Qatar through a family sponsorship and wishes to work, she needs to register at the Recruitment Department at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. She will also need her husband’s approval so she can work without needing to obtain another work permit.
The work week in Qatar is usually from Sunday to Thursday and lasts from 7am to 3pm on average. The environment is generally relaxed, meaning everyone is comfortable and respectful of one another.
The expected salary for a job will be more or less depending on education level or work experience. For more information about salaries in Qatar and the average salaries in different industries, click here.
Illustrations: Khadia Ulumbekova