Aloha! My name is Lacey, and I'm currently in Hawaii. My boyfriend might be getting a civilian job on base over there next summer, and if he does, I'll be moving to Qatar with him. I was wondering, could anyone give me information about finding employment either on or off base? By the time I get there I'll have my master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, so if there was a place I could work as a mental health therapist, that would be ideal. However, if there's nothing like that available, I could also work in an office, or waitressing... I'm really just trying to get an idea of what is out there right now. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
With the Residency laws it will be tricky to follow him if you don't have a job lined up. Most of these base contracts do not allow spouses/girlfriends to accompany them. They also only provide shared living and will not allow spouses/girlfriends to live with them (especially girlfriends because that is against the law). This can cause a problem because the cost of housing over here is outrageous and would eat up much of your salaries.
It would be better off if you got a full contract on your own and negotiated housing as a part of it.
There are many companies that hold contracts for the two bases in Qatar but not really in your field. I'm not certain as to the therapy field in town though.
I don't know about the specifics of American base housing. As a civilian, perhaps he can negotiate off-base housing as part of his contract? If so, it gives you some options. Keep in mind that he won't have transportation until he has residency which can take 4-6 weeks after arrival. The way around this is (maybe) is to arrive with an International Driving Permit and pay for a temporary driver's licence upon arrival.
Identifying yourself as a cohabitating girlfriend/boyfriend is a definite no-no. Either come with a government issued marriage certificate before you arrive, or find your own employment contract. Don't get me wrong, cohabitating is done here but not officially and you can probably only get away with it if you are non-Muslim and Caucasian and keep it very discrete (assisted by living in a Western ex-pat villa/apartment).
Unless you're married, he can't sponsor you as a dependent. Without sponsorship or your own employment contract, you can only come on a 2 (or 3) week visitors visa--renewable only once--before you have to leave and come back again. Fines for overstaying a visitor's visa are 50QR/day.
My wife is much in the same employment situation. She's a social worker. There isn't really much of a social work/secular mental health industry here. You might be able to hang out a shingle once you get here and do counselling for EAP programs with ex-pat employers or private counselling for ex-pats and their families (Lord knows there is a need here), but private counselling won't qualify for an entry visa either.
If he's serious about coming and your relationship is solid, then get married (or sign a pre-nup and get married). The housing still needs to be worked out (as per scmasse), but you can have a very nice honeymoon for the next few years. It really is an amazing country once you get past the marital conservatism of Islam.
Aloha! Thank you for the info. My boyfriend is deployed over there right now, and talking to the guy (contractor) whose position he would likely be taking... from what he's understanding right now, that guy was somehow able to bring his girlfriend over there and it worked out... but I don't know the details behind it, so I asked him to find out more for me. I'm real interested in how they work housing, too... I have a lot of questions!
Here's one big one for now- you said that there are many companies that hold contracts over there... do you know how I could find out what companies these are? Is there a list/website/resource that tells of jobs/positions open over there, or employers, or anything like that?
Thanks so much for your help :-)
Thank you for the warning about saying we're cohabitating boyfriend/girlfriend... I've been reading through posts on here for a good portion of the day today, and I have heard so many different viewpoints and experiences! Some people are saying not to worry about it, that ya don't really get in trouble, and others say you can be deported. So, I don't really know what to believe. I know we definitely have to do some more research, though!
I do appreciate that idea of "hanging out a shingle" and working with ex-pats and their families. I will definitely have to look more into that and the legalities that may surround it! Thank you very much for that idea :-)
Hi, i just read ur article, i know is oldish but still interesting 4 me, i'm Ecuadorian but have british citizenship now, well a long time ago n living in Qatar with my partner, wanted to know more about if u ever made it over here n if u got a job in social work, mayb u can give me some tips, etc...
thanks in advanced