Relocating to Qatar for a job - here’s what you need to know
Relocating to a new country can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s also a big decision with lots to prepare. Whether you’ve just landed your dream job in Qatar, or are considering moving to improve your job prospects or quality of life, we know that relocating can be a stressful and challenging time.
With its history and rapidly developing future, Qatar has proven to be an ideal destination for expats, especially those with families.
Despite the challenges, moving to a new country has many positives. From discovering new experiences and learning about new cultures, potentially learning a new language and meeting new people, moving abroad can be a fantastic opportunity.
Whatever your reasons for choosing to relocate to Qatar, here are some things to keep in mind to help you stay on top of your big move and take some of the stress out of the big change.
Ranked the safest and most crime-free country in the world according to the global database Numbeo, Qatar continues to lead the way in topping the crime index for over five years. The small Gulf state stood at the top of the rankings compiled by the global database site which tracks crime rates and living costs in 133 countries.
While modern, Qatar is also a traditional Muslim country with deep ties to its history and culture. Expats are expected to respect the traditions and norms of the country and to behave and dress conservatively in public.
As per Islamic guidelines, pork products and alcohol consumption have strict restrictions. The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists the following advice and recommendations:
- Stand up to greet or welcome newcomers, particularly the elderly.
- Men should avoid shaking hands when meeting a Qatari woman unless she first offers her hand.
- Use your right hand to accept drinks offered to you
- Avoid using your finger to gesture to people to come
- Shake the coffee cup to indicate you don’t want more
- Avoid taking photographs of military installations or other people without their consent, particularly women.
While the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken and commonly used for most day to day dealings. Its widespread use, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors, mean that expats generally find it easy to navigate daily life in Qatar.
The medical infrastructure is incredibly well-developed in Qatar and healthcare standards are high. Both public and private facilities are modern and easily accessible to locals and expats.
The main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare is Hamad Medical Corporation and is one of the leading medical providers in the Middle East.
In January 2016, HMC became the first healthcare system in the world to have all of its hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International under the framework of the Academic Medical Centre accreditation programme. Subsequently, HMC's National Ambulance Service, Home Healthcare Service, Stroke Service and Palliative Care, received this prestigious accreditation in 2011.
Primary health care is provided by the PHCC with nearly 30 Health Centres across the country. In order to receive treatment however, whether at PHCC or HMC, a Hamad Health Card must first be acquired.
Private healthcare is also available, if costly, and many companies provide their employees and their families with comprehensive medical insurance.
Those planning to drive in Qatar will need a valid driving license from the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department after passing a driving test. Driving around the country will take some getting used to, but road signage is both in English and Arabic. Fines can be rather hefty, and are assigned to the car rather than the driver, so if you’re buying a used car, it’s worth checking out on the Ministry of Traffic’s website to see if there are any outstanding fines.
Getting around in Qatar can be challenging without a car. While there are new metro lines connecting the more popular spots in Doha, other areas are harder to navigate, especially in a country not particularly geared towards accommodating pedestrians.
There is a bus network throughout Doha and neighbouring cities, however they’re infrequent and not always ideal. Alternatively, taxis and ubers are also available and rates are quite affordable with the meter starting at QR 4.
Are there any other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments
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Cover Image Credits: Unsplash, Florian Wehde
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Here is something I learnt the hard way.
Some malls are off limits to bachelors over the weekend and at certain times of the day. Even to buy diapers.
Or may be applicable to Asians only.
There are several things that have been mentioned in the article but some of them have been left out deliberately or otherwise.
First, alcohol is not easily available. One must have a license to buy a bottle of any alcoholic drink and that too must be consumed at home only. There is no walking around the streets while drunk. Driving while under intoxication, can get you arrested, put in jail and also deported.
Secondly, there is no having any form of physical contact with the opposite sex in public. This can also get you arrested.
Thirdly, one must be properly dressed while in public places. One cannot run around public places in bikinis.
Fourthly, public buses are managed by just one company and they are of the same colour. The same company runs taxis also. They are known as Karwa buses or taxis. Buses go to most locations in the city and the cost of travel is cheap. Many prefer to use the bus, as it saves one the hassle of finding parking space and avoid the possibility of facing fines due to traffic violations. Traffic fines can be hefty. It is just that buses take a bit longer.
Fifthly, taxis are available on "shared basis" also. During weekends, such taxis are commonly seen in the city.
Lastly, while many come over to Qatar with high hopes of bettering the living conditions of their loved ones back home, there are those who return with shattered dreams. There can be many reasons behind this. Living a lonely life without your loved ones can be really demanding. It requires much sacrifice. Also, one may not be employed for the job he has been hired. I knew of one case where a female physiotherapist came over only to find the company had no work available for physiotherapist. She was being made to work as a nanny. She left. Then there are those companies that do not pay salaries on time. These companies know very well that employees pay heavily to agents back home to "buy" a visa to Qatar. Once here, they are simply trapped as they need to recover their "investment:.
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