All you need to know before moving to Qatar

 

 

When relocating to another country, one thing an expat should always keep in mind is the pros and cons of moving. When moving to Qatar, here are the surprises that you should prepare yourself for.

Accommodations are the first in the list when it comes to migrating, and expats will find that properties in Qatar to be quite attractive, spacious and deplorable. Although, renting an apartment is expensive, there are various options to resort to. If you are willing to share the space, one bedroom in a flatshare can be cheaper at QR 20,002,200 (USD 1,500) per month, and this price has an attached bathroom to add to its feature; However, for those moving with their families, a three-bedroom, furnished apartment costs QR 800,010,000 (USD 9,500) and a two-bedroom is QR 500,017,000 (USD 8,000) per month.

For most people, moving to Qatar is an opportunity to get a job on a senior level, and this means better pay and no taxation. The employment rate in Qatar reached 87% (2015), and major industries that have contributed to this percentage are those involved in Crude Oil Production and Refining, Ammonia, Fertilizers, Petrochemicals, Steel Reinforcing Bars, Cement, Commercial Ship Repair. A non-Qatari need to have a sponsor before he can work in the country; Also, when applying for work residence permit, an employment contract, and a job offer is necessary for processing in the immigration. Once all requirements are met, an expat can enjoy an average salary of 17,144 QAR.

"I absolutely love the locals. They are very humble and down to earth considering, I do live in the richest country in the world. I was once admiring a Ferrari in front of a hotel, and the guy driving offered me to drive it. That is how amazing these people are."- Sumaica Asad, Expat in Doha, Qatar

With that amount of salary, saving some Qatari Riyal, the national currency, can be made easier if you have banks and financial advice from these financial establishments in Qatar. As they are the most common banks in the country, you can rely on them when it comes to opening an account:

  1. Bank Saderat Iran
  2. Al Ahli Bank of Qatar
  3. Mashreq Bank Qatar
  4. HSBC Qatar
  5. Central Bank Qatar

You just have to present the requirements then it will be settled immediately. These are the most common requirements that will be asked when you apply for banking account, whether it is current or checking, debit or credit:

  1. Passport, plus copies of information and visa pages
  2. Residency/work permit and copies
  3. A 'no objection' letter from the expat's Qatari employer, stating their monthly salary (a helpful tip: it's often easier to open an account with the same bank as the employer)
  4. Some banks require two passport photos

Relocating to Qatar is not just all about work, work, and more work; sometimes you need to have fun, relax and enjoy your new life. As Qatar is one of the major exporters of petroleum products in the world, it would be better to own a car because of the affordability of gas and other petroleum products at 0.90 to 1 QAR. Though, if you prefer to use the public transport, the average monthly ticket expenditure is 185 QAR while a trip to the inner city can cost anywhere around 10 QAR per ticket. When it comes to food, a big Mac requires 20 to 25 QAR, a daily menu in the business sector is 185 QAR, and a luxurious dinner in an Italian restaurant with wine and dessert can add up to 489 QAR. For entertainment, two movie tickets cost 70 QAR, and two theater tickets are at 322 QAR. For those who are fun of going to the gym, an average of 427 QAR can be spent on a monthly membership in a gym in the business sector.

Moving to Qatar is the start of change, so by knowing what to expect, you can be prepared when problems arise.

Essential relocation information

 

Movers in Qatar will know what things are best shipped to the country or left back home rather than taking with you on your assignment. These professionals are then the best people to consult when one wants to make sure about hassle-free and practical overseas shipping of one's goods.

There are things that are allowed for entry into Qatar and these include a reasonable amount of tobacco and perfume for personal use. These are actually the only items that people relocating to Qatar may ship into the country. Drugs, weapons, ammunition, intellectual property, explosives, vaccines and any products made from pork of any kind are completely banned.

There are many removal companies in Qatar and they will need basic information like the address where the things will be unloaded when the package gets to Qatar, the weight and the volume of the things to be shipped, type of shipment preferred - by air, train, truck, or ship and the mode of payment.

Expatriates should be happy to know that there is no tax levied in any of the country's airports. This makes removals to Qatar a budget-friendly option for those who do not want to go through the usual trouble of processing one's own papers for shipment. With these professionals, people moving to the country can merely focus on adjusting to the locals' norms and traditions and trying to live harmoniously with them.

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How to live like a local 

 

 

Per capita, Qatar is one of the world’s richest countries with high income, developed economy and abundant natural reserves. Add to it the fact that this country is one of the most influential nations in the Middle East; Qatar, as a country with good prospects, is a great place to start a new life as an expat.

Driven by its abundance of oil and gas, it’s no wonder why this small Emirate became one of the most successful and favoured expat destinations in the Middle East. Qatar rapidly climbed up the ranks and is now at par with other powerhouse countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Among the many beautiful characteristics of this country such as its undeniable natural beauty and booming economy, another pride of Qatar is the significant attention the society puts in education and preservation of its culture. This Arab nation has an estimated total population of more than 2.3 million people, and expats who have decided to live here are about to see a unique mixture of cultures and a growing international community.

Fun Family Life in Qatar

In the name of fun, Qatar offers a lot of things for expat children as well. There are many places to go and things to do. The natural love of Qataris for children reflects on the parks and malls which are both quite common all over the country. Qataris love horses, too, and expat kids can explore the Oryx Farm and Equestrian Club, a protected breeding centre for Qatar's national animal, the Oryx. Those who want to know more about their new host country’s culture can also head to The Museum of Islamic Art which showcases a wide scope of the beautiful Islamic art from three continents over the last 1400 years.

The newly re-opened Al Khor Park is also very attractive for kids who love animals. This 240,000 square-metre zoo is one of the oldest and largest parks in Qatar that serves as a home to more than 172 animals from over 22 different species including peacocks, oryxes and zebras. Qatar is also surrounded by sea and the locals are particularly fond of water activities such as swimming, jet skiing, kite surfing and beach volleyball. In terms of sports, golf, falconry and sailing are must try for expat kids while their staying in Qatar.

Transitioning to Qatari Life

Vehicles in Qatar drive on the right side of the road. Road accidents have declined, but it remains high despite stricter traffic laws so utmost caution must be taken. Qatar is also very strict on driving after consumption of alcohol, even at levels lower than other countries allow. A foreigner's national driver's license may be used in Qatar for 14 days. Beyond 14 days, one must apply for a temporary driver's license at the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department. Some of the requirements that applicants must bring are:

  • Duly accomplished application form
  • Current Driver’s license
  • Valid Passport
  • Several passport-sized photos
  • Proof of payment of the applicable fees

Qatar's banking sector is supervised and monitored by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) which controls the country's monetary policies. The industry is quite diversified with the existing banks being able to provide for the needs of different types of customers. Currently, there are fifteen commercial banks in Qatar composed of seven Qatari banks, two Arabian banks, and the rest are foreign banks. These banks offer all the standard services which include account opening, cheque clearance, debit and credit cards, time deposits and other investments, utility payment, and standing orders. Some major banks accept deposits in foreign currencies like the US dollar (USD) and the Great Britain Pound (GBP). To open a local bank account, expats must bring the requirements below:

  • Residence Visa
  • Valid Passport
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued by the applicant’s employer
  • Proof of Residency such as a tenancy agreement

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Preparing for Culture Shock

Expatriates living in Qatar must be familiar with how they address people, and that is sayed for men and sayeeda for women while the common greeting is Salam alaykum (‘Peace be upon you'). Arabs are friendly people and usually do not want to engage in business conversation right away. They like to engage in a little personal, exciting talk before proceeding with business. 

An expat in Qatar should know that the mode of dressing, especially for women, is rather conservative. Revealing or sexy clothes are not allowed. Living in Qatar is very convenient for expats, given that they show a genuine willingness to adopt the local culture or, at least, show respect. When eating or receiving something as a gift, the right hand should always be used. For Qataris, who are commonly Muslims, the left hand is considered unclean and strictly for toilet purposes. Also believed to be unclean are the soles of one's feet which should never be shown in public, lest one is branded as rude. Of course, as Muslims, pork and pork-derived products will not even be allowed in the country.

 

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