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Qatar - have you any experience?

(15 Posts)
Researchingamove Thu 30-Jun-16 21:51:25

I have name changed as this is not public news for my friends and family yet.

DH has been offered the opportunity of a long term contract in Qatar. Have done some research and we are both discussing it this evening. Has anyone any experience of living and working there good or bad?

Many thanks.

MamaDuckling Sat 02-Jul-16 20:09:23

Hello from the desert...

We moved over in February and so far it's been a good move for us (two young kids).

I'm about to fly home for the summer - it's really too hot to be outdoors between June - September, so that's worth bearing in mind.

It has plus points, and negatives too:

Pro's:
Good quality of life
Affordable home help and childcare
Sunshine! Pool time after school/work
Hugely accessible from the UK and a great place to travel from. The airport is excellent and plenty of fab places are a short flight away!
Nice expat community. Small town feel.
Tax free expat salaries, ultimately it's why most people are here, to save!
Relatively liberal compared to some Gulf states
Excellent place for young families. Lovely parks and playgrounds. Very very safe.
Huge villas/apartments. Lots of space.

Cons:
Too hot in the summer months, makes for long afternoons if you have kids and school finishes at 1pm
Driving - it's not as bad as you'll be told by many, but you need your wits about you. The air pollution is s bigger issue for me.

There is obviously a divide between Qatari's, Expats in skilled jobs, and labourers (many Indian/Philippino for example). How would you feel about that? There's no apparent poverty here, and new laws mean that everyone should be paid properly now (rather than not paid at all), but there is a hierarchy so to speak. That said, it's very multicultural and an aspirational place.

Shopping is pretty dire unless you're in the market for designer labels or run of the mill high street stuff. You can certainly get almost everything you need here, but food is quite expensive. The upshot of this is that I save more! And I look forward to stocking up on visits home.

Accommodation is very expensive. Standards are not brilliant (dated kitchens etc) and most compounds are pretty uninspiring compared to the likes of Dubai.

There's so much more I could tell you.... Anything specific you want to know??

Boysdontcry Sat 02-Jul-16 23:48:57

Hi,I have just left Qatar. The one thing I would add is that I found it very ,very expensive .The cost of living is on par with Dubai,but you don't get the Dubai life style.
My main other concern was schooling. I have no idea how old ,or if you would be in need of school places. Doha College , then Sherbourne are the most popular for the British expats,but both have long wait lists.

zikreetdreaming Sun 03-Jul-16 07:00:59

I've recently left Qatar having lived there for nine years. Qatar can be a great place to live but it is very expensive. It's more expensive than Dubai (although schools are cheaper). The salary you're getting is crucial to make it work. A lot also depends on how you like to spend your free time and where you're comimg on.

The the big driving factors behind our decision to leave was traffic (as in traffic jams), pollution and fire safety.

Researchingamove Sun 03-Jul-16 13:37:23

Thank you for your responses, I was beginning to wonder if there were any expats out there!

MamaDuckling Thank you, your post covered a lot of information and was very helpful. I'm interested to know more about this hierarchy that you refer to, can you elaborate please? Additionally what would you term as expensive for a monthly rental? I'm trying to gauge it in line with package offered.

Boysdontcry I have never been to Dubai except for a stopover! Have you another example you could use for the cost of living being expensive please?

Zitreetdreaming What would you say to be a necessary salary to enjoy the lifestyle out there? I get your concerns about traffic, could you elaborate a bit please and also in relation to fire safety, what are your concerns there?

We're in the position that one of our children goes to an independent specialist school and the other is about to apply for college to begin next year. We wouldn't be keen on moving them over but rather fly over during half terms, holidays etc. so schools wouldn't be needed. I am also starting university in September for a 3 year course and really don't want to defer that. However this is an amazing opportunity for DH and would be the very thing he's worked toward through his 25yr career. I don't want him to miss out on that but likewise we are both of the mind that it HAS to be right and doable for our family as a whole.

Any thoughts about potential issues of having a base in Qatar and the UK simultaneously?

zikreetdreaming Sun 03-Jul-16 15:52:25

No schools and older children makes life easier. A lot depends on what lifestyle you want but I'd allow around QAR 15k a month for accommodation. On cost, DH and I had a joint income of about 45k per month + company housing (adjusting for schooling costs) and, whilst I certainly wouldn't claim poverty we were watching spending. When we were on more like 35k we struggled if we got hit by a big unexpected bill. My DH was paid about 20k per month (+ housing) and most people i know struggled to live off that and save anything. That said lots of expats live on a lot less.

On fire safety, we lived in a posh apartment black for five years. During that time I personally forced building staff to call the fire brigade for three fires when they weren't going to bother. No idea how many times there were fires they ignored. Im from the era of the Villagio fire (google it) and, like most people around then, know people who lost children so I am particularly sensitive to fire safety. That said it wouldn't bother me so much if I had been able to be in a villa.

We had a great time in Qatar but 9 years was also very much long enough!

Boysdontcry Sun 03-Jul-16 21:23:18

Our rent was about the same as the above poster. We lived on Al Fardan 2, Fardan is a well known ,well run group of compounds. Probably middle of the rung cost wise.
We are a family of 5. I used to shop at Carrefour once a week. Usually would come out at around 1100 riyals for the week.£228! So probably double what I spend here.

habibihabibi Mon 04-Jul-16 09:28:07

I have been in Qatar for five years but in the region for fifteen.

It is conservative, very expensive and very frustrating at times.

You just need to remember behind all the wealth it is very much a developing nation. The rights, rules expectations and regulations we take for granted in the UK/West don't apply.

Researchingamove Mon 04-Jul-16 09:57:51

habibihabibi thanks for your reply. Have you enjoyed your time so far in Qatar? I'm very aware of things like their human rights record and the difference in the judiciary compared to the western world, has that had a huge impact on your time there or have you managed to adjust comfortably?

habibihabibi Mon 04-Jul-16 12:02:27

I think also working has helped me tremendously. Intially when we were in Doha and my children were too young for school I didn't work but really networked to get a niche role .
Fortunately both my husband and I work for organisations who have implemented standards of worker welfare and health and safety.
We are happy here and do enjoy a lifestyle and opportunities that would be very different from what our life would be in the UK .

zikreetdreaming Mon 04-Jul-16 15:53:54

The other thing to correct is that there is poverty. It's not Mumbai-style poverty but I used to live in the central business district and would still regularly pass people living in appaling conditions. Very little begging though.

Are you planning on working? The wives I've know who have moved out with no kids and not working have been the group that have found it hardest in my experience. You can still have a good time but will need to be more active in seeking out friends.

I was there 9 years - it's certainly got some great things about it and if it's your first ME posting can be brilliant (because it's all new). I'm in the UAE now though and would choose it over Qatar any day.
No one's answered your question on two bases - lots of people do that. You just have to watch how long you stay from a tqx residency point of view. If you wont be working this is only important for your husband.

Boysdontcry Mon 04-Jul-16 22:24:23

I've literally just landed in Qatar. I'm spending a day here before traveling onto Bahrain tomorrow. It's just taken me an hour and three quarters to get the through immigration. By the time I collected my bags they were in lost luggage. Am traveling alone with two young children. Managed to slip over and now have an ankle the size of a ballon! Think I shall be leaving tomorrow on crutches sad

GreenSand Thu 07-Jul-16 20:35:59

In a more conservative ME country.
The hierarchy is very very obvious here.
Arabs are top dog.
Whites are next (I hold the informal company record for clearing immigration on first arrival - out of airport 40 mins after landing. Mainly because I was a white female with kids in a very slowly moving line of Philippians and Subcontinent workers. I got summonsed to the GGC line as soon as it had cleared. Several hours is normal).
Asians are third. DH his British born, but not white. He says it is noticeable he is questioned and searched much less when I am present.
Sub continent workers are very definitely seen as bottom of the ladder.

How long is DH considering being in the middle East? I'd stay in UK and complete your studies. Can the kids board at current schools??

Also, look carefully into schools for your child at specialist school. IMO, schools who matter for anything other than normal are few and far between.

Check what the deal would be if DH goes out on his own, or with you. I need to be in the country for 180 days per year for DH to get the higher family allowances (and less holidays).
Lots of blokes come out in their own. Less now than previously, judging from the conversion of single units to family houses, but still very very common.

Supermarket shopping is twice UK levels.
Petrol is cheeper!! £8 to fill a tank (and no, I havnt missed a digit there).
Check if electric /water is included in rent. These can add up very quickly - our AC isn't on for about 2 months of the year to keep the house at 25c.
Factor in medical insurance if not included in package.
We can't get alcohol. I imagine it isn't cheap!!!
Eating out similar prices.

Boysdontcry hope your ankle is OK

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 14-Jul-16 15:41:12

Hi there,

I am in a similar position where DH is interviewing for a job in Doha. I have 2 kids (aged 2 and 4) and I'm just a bit unsure about the whole thing. The job is for a 1 year contract but with the possibility of it being extended for a further 3 years, or else the company might move him to Australia/somewhere else after the first year. This is not helping us decide because it's so uncertain! DH is dying to go - he would like me and the kids to go too but we just don't know enough about it yet to decide. He's not going to find out how much they'll pay until after the next interview, which isn't helping, but he has been told it's generous and includes housing and car allowance. It is a great opportunity and I want him to take it if he gets the chance - but I don't know whether we should go with him or stay behind! DD will be due to start school in August 2017 (we're in Scotland) and I don't know whether to stay here so we have a residence in the UK (we rent atm) or not.

I work too just now but my employer offers a career break option where you can take up to 2 years off (unpaid) and they keep the job for you on your return. So I could do that and still have a bit of a safety net.

What would you advise?

SparkleSoiree Sun 17-Jul-16 10:14:00

Hi TooExtraImmatureCheddar. These opportunities can appear daunting when they are offered for the first time and it is a different way of life. In your situation, if you both considered it a good opportunity, it may be an option go for the 1yr contract. Remember that at the 1yr renewal point you can always say no and walk away if it's not for you. Your children are young enough that you could go with your partner for the 12 months and try it on for size. If you get past the first year and are asked to consider other opportunities/countries then give the same consideration at that point to their offer as you are now to this one. Australia wouldn't be a bad gig - our kids loved it out there!

Good luck!

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