Working in Doha



Middle Eastern cities mean hot temperatures, sandstorms, and a completely different culture, but this is easier to adapt to when jobs are plentiful.

Employment Basics

The country of Qatar registered a record high of $202.45 billion GDP in 2014, much of which was contributed by Doha's revenues from the oil and gas industry.

Qatar currently has a labor force of 1.6 million and 40% reside in the city of Doha. Of the 998,651 inhabitants of the city, 75% are expatriate workers.

In Doha, jobs range from the oil and gas industry, construction and information technology to human resources development, teaching, and even advertising. The largest number of employees currently works in the construction sector, with about 300,000 workers. This is closely followed by the manufacturing and domestic service industries.

Expats are also smitten with the city's promise of accommodation, provisions for transportation, medical insurance, and its tax-free salaries.

A site engineer in the construction industry earns a minimum of 100,000 Qatari Riyal (QR) or 27,473 US Dollar (USD) annually, and the real bonus is that it's tax-free.

Work Permits

The first action to take is to find a local sponsor in Doha. More often than not, it will be your employer. The local sponsor applies for a work permit and most companies have specific departments that assist new employees with the formalities of getting a work permit.

Work permits are granted to non-Qatari nationals if the following conditions are met: No Qatari national meets the job requirements, you have a residence permit, and you are declared medically fit following the necessary medical examination procedures, which may include a HIV/AIDS tests. All medical tests are done locally.

Also, remember that a person employed in Qatar may not work for anyone other than his or her sponsor. Sponsorship may only be changed if you have already worked for at least two years with your original sponsor and have been granted a release letter.

You can visit for more information regarding visas and permits. 

Work Culture

The typical working week in Doha starts on a Sunday and ends on Thursday. Friday is considered a Muslim holy day. 

Communication is more indirect in Middle Eastern cities like Doha, so you may want to hold off from direct criticism and offhand humor with co-workers, especially your superiors. 

The business structure is hierarchal and leaders tend to separate themselves from the group. They also make the final decisions.

The most important facet of the workplace that you may have to adjust to is the business attire, especially for women. Women are encouraged to wear either pants or skirts, but length and cut must always be modest. Arms must always be covered, so a blazer or jacket is a work wardrobe staple. Men on the other hand should don decent, modestly cut slacks or pants. A suit and tie ensemble is best in an office setting. You may want to reserve your jeans and cargo shorts for days off work.

So if you're still pondering whether or not to take that high-paying, benefit-laden job offer in Doha, the answer should now be clear - it's a resounding yes.



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