Job offer in Saudi - please could you help with the package?

(43 Posts)
starrystarrynights Tue 06-Jan-15 20:49:45

DH has just been offered a role in Riyadh.

Basic salary is 7000 GBP per month. Accommodation/travel is around 2.2-2.4k GBP per month.

School fees are 19,000 Riyal per child (I've queried this with Dh as that's around 4k GBP, a lot less than we pay in London at the moment!)

I wanted to query from you wiser Mumsnetters hiw this stacks up in terms of accommodation costs and package. I'd have expected more for school fees and in not sure if the accommodation allowance will cover accommodation.

He can negotiate but it would be good to have a view of a sensible ball park figure!

starrystarrynights Tue 06-Jan-15 20:55:00

Also anumber of expats in the company in Riyadh living in Dubai and commute to Riyadh in a weekly basis with their partners/kids staying in in Dubai - this seems certain,y more palatable than living in Riyadh!

Is this a common arrangement?

itsbetterthanabox Tue 06-Jan-15 21:24:45

If the money is worth living and brining up children in a place that brutalises and oppresses it's people in particular the women the yeah it sounds like you'll be pretty wealthy.
I hope you don't have a daughter.
I dread to think what you're husbands job is..

Fairylea Tue 06-Jan-15 21:29:53

Yep what previous poster said. Sorry.

RubbishRobotFromTheDawnOfTime Tue 06-Jan-15 21:33:04

Is it just the money you're thinking about? Anything else coming into the decision making process?

AgentProvocateur Tue 06-Jan-15 21:39:57

What they said ^^

My BIL (engineer) is a professional expat and was offered a similar package there recently (no kids, so single accomm and no school fees). Even he turned it down for the reasons given above, and he is a mercenary bastard usually!

bilbodog Tue 06-Jan-15 21:42:07

Can you ask the company to put you in touch with other uk expats working over there so you can find out from them what it is like? I certainly wouldn't want to live in Saudi as you would be very restricted. Dubai will have an expat community and social life will probably be good. Make sure you have medical cover. Good luck

oneflewoutofthecrazynest Tue 06-Jan-15 21:45:23

What about living in Bahrain and having dh drive over the causeway to work in Saudi?

RubbishRobotFromTheDawnOfTime Tue 06-Jan-15 21:59:17

Why the hell would anyone want to work/live supporting a regime like Saudi Arabia?

TreaterAnita Tue 06-Jan-15 22:39:31

My husband's an oil recruiter so have run the figures past him for you. He hasn't placed anyone in Riyadh but has in Al Khubar (just over the border from Bahrain). He reckons family accommodation there is about £2k per month in a compound, probably less in Riyadh because no-one wants to go!

He did question the sanity of anyone choosing to live in Riyadh, especially with a family as it's extremely restrictive, even by Saudi standards and there's pretty much nothing to do.

In terms of living in Dubai (or Bahrain as suggested by a PP) he questioned the viability of that in terms of visas, both because your husband would need a multi-entry visa for Saudi and you'd need a visa for wherever you're living. He thinks access across the bridge from Bahrain is probably slightly easier, but it's a long drive from there to Riyadh and the working week tends to be 5.5-6 days. Plus you'd have 2 lots of accommodation to pay for so the accommodation allowance wouldn't cover it and he doesn't think you'd get school fees if your kids are being educated outside Saudi.

Sorry to be pessimistic OP, but his honest advice would be not to do it.

HerRoyalNotness Wed 07-Jan-15 00:44:45

Go to the expat women forum, it's all for the Middle East. You'll be able to get some answers there from people on the ground.

HerRoyalNotness Wed 07-Jan-15 00:46:47

here looks like they've branched out in the last couple of yrs

Lweji Wed 07-Jan-15 00:54:06

I wouldn't go.
Make sure before you go that you are aware of all legal aspects of being the wife and having no own claim to living in either of those countries.
And I hope you have a solid marriage.

GettingFiggyWithIt Wed 07-Jan-15 01:28:49

Wow you are getting some grief on here.
My dh travels to the middle east a lot and has a colleague who has been out there a decade
I will ask him for any insights and get back to you tomorrow.
I did a lot of research a couple of years back for Dubai schools and the waiting lists and costs were very high.
Would I ever want to live there?
I have said no for the time being which is based on:
The culture shock being too much for me personally even somewhere less restrictive
The uprooting of eldest child again
The climate in the summer as I have no bolt hole in uk for three months
The difficulty of being an expat as I am struggling immensely in Europe let alone UAE
The argument re cash vs happiness vs help vs culture vs commute vs feminism vs goals vs oppression
There are many articles about the dark underbelly of Dubai, etc whereby pakistanis/indians are treated like crap, egyptians slightly better, white men okay, emirates win every time eg no fault for car accidents and women aren't allowed to drive at all (in moderate Dubai yes but Riyadh no) the exploitation re pay, passport confiscation, lodging etc would not sit with me well. Nor would compound living but others get used to it/have seen it as a short to medium term commitment.
I am pretty sure that families in dubhai whilst dp in Riyadh is a common thing yes but will get back to you tomorrow.
Need to add: have never been out there myself (which dh always uses as the argument as to me being so judgy pants without trying it first) but will say that having made stupid mistakes just moving from the uk to europe that you are very wise to do all your research particularly with health insurance for everyone and to be aware that some accommodation expects annual money up front. Good luck...am sure there are mnetters out there, there were at least a dozen a couple of years ago.

Alibalibumblebee Wed 07-Jan-15 01:42:15

You would not be able to live in Dubai due to visa restrictions and Im almost certain the same would apply in Bahrain.

xboxnovice Wed 07-Jan-15 09:10:41

I've been to Saudi 7 times as my sister lived there for 6 years, first in Riyadh for 3 years and then Damman, down on the coast. Riyadh was stricter, but over 7 years I saw a lot of mellowing in the way women are accepted.We used to go up to Bahrain at the weekends for a bit of R & R and alcohol.

I never had a problem going about on my own, (with the driver tailing me) and loved finding out about the culture etc. I wore an abaya and loved the anonymity and just wearing my underwear underneath! We never really covered our heads in the last three years either.

I am dad he has moved from there, and she misses the great expat life she had, with all the benefits. She never paid a bill/rent/car or for staff, apart from rewarding the staff with the same as they were paid by the Company.

I'd go, but then I was a service child and went where we were told to!

Lweji Wed 07-Jan-15 11:12:09

I never had a problem going about on my own, (with the driver tailing me)

That about sums it up, though, doesn't it?

AggressiveBunting Thu 08-Jan-15 06:32:45

There are definitely people who work in Riyadh and weekly commute to Dubai, where their families live. I dont know how they do it, but they do. Definitely ask on expatwoman and they can probably enlighten you. Possibly the company has a legal entity in both countries and manages to sort it somehow, or the husband is theoretically living in Dubai and just has a multi-entry business visa for Saudi. However, as has been said, it would push the costs up.

overmydeadbody Thu 08-Jan-15 06:42:18

Don't do it OP.

It is not worth the money.

And no, you won't be able to commute and live elsewhere.

I lived there for 10 years and would never ever bring my childrne up in that country.

Alibalibumblebee Thu 08-Jan-15 11:37:19

I suspect the people commuting to Saudi whilst the family is living in Dubai are actually employed by a company in Dubai.

AggressiveBunting Thu 08-Jan-15 11:59:28

Yeah- that's what I think might be the case, so they're resident in Dubai, but just happen to have to travel to the Saudi office a lot........like 5 days a week.

Alibalibumblebee Thu 08-Jan-15 12:05:38

Yes smile

Living Thu 08-Jan-15 21:13:56

Accommodation sounds low to me but I'm in Qatar which is high rent and have heard Saudi's cheaper. Be aware those large expat compounds where you can wander around in a bikini if you want to are not easy to get on. Try and see if the employer can arrange the accommodation not an allowance.

Don't know Riyadh prices but that school allowance sounds unbelievable low. I pay 7k a year for Year 1 in Qatar. I can't believe you'd get a descend school for 4k - teachers would need to be paid a premium to work in Riyadh even if rent's cheaper.

Living Thu 08-Jan-15 21:17:37

Also whether it's a good package depends entirely on what it is your DH does. It's a brilliant package for a teacher. It'd be a rubbish package for a partner in an international law firm. In Qatar terms it would be a decent wage for a professional but nothing really wow. I wouldn't work in Riyadh for that.

Cathpot Thu 08-Jan-15 21:30:02

We are in Saudi at the moment. Bahrain is possible as multi exit visas available- we get out to Bahrain a couple of times month, but we live near the bridge so it's easy. It's a good 4 hour drive on insane roads from Riyadh. Bahrain is a relaxed stroll in the park compared to Saudi but it has it's own issues at the moment and kicks off every Friday with anti government skirmishes. I have lived in several countries , including 3 in the middle East and this is the first one where I can find nothing to recommend it as a nation. It is perfectly possible on a western compound to live in a bubble of semi normality, where you live will determine the day to day quality of your life. We are looking to move on, but on my compound are families who have been in Saudi 20 years- it's what suits you. Security situation is not great at the moment, series of attacks on westeners and the ISIS attacks on Yemeni border. Happy for you to pm me of you want to chat about it.

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