Moving to one of the richest countries in the Middle East- Qatar is what thousands of expats undertake every year. Thanks to its solid natural gas and oil reserves, Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world. Despite its small size, the country is one of the most important players not only in the Middle East, but also in the world.
Due to Qatar’s luxurious lifestyle promises with its tax- free environment and its significantly more liberal policies, the print-sized country attracts more and more foreigners every year. Expats usually move to Qatar in relation to an employment opportunity they have been offered, but moving without having a job is also possible. If you have the right skill sets, you could find a job in the petrochemical sector, although there are strict requirements in regard to residence permits.
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Moving to Qatar
As in any other country in the Middle East, Qatar is highly influenced by the religion (Islam). Moving to Qatar with your partner without actually being married would probably disable you from sharing a house together. If you are not married and are willing to bring your partner and children to Qatar, it is most likely not going to work. That is in confrontation with Qatari laws and it might cause problems with the authorities in the country. Therefore, if this is applicable to you, you are highly advised to discuss your situation with your sponsoring company or local lawyers.
Hassle free shipment of personal belongings to Qatar will require expats moving to the Middle Eastern country to be extra careful. Due to the strict Sharia laws in Qatar, shipment of some goods is strongly prohibited and if you try to ship such items they are most likely to be confiscated from the customs officials. In this regard, contacting the right international moving companies is an absolute necessity. Since these international removal companies are usually certified and experienced in specific destination, you will be advised on what you can ship and what you cannot.
Among strongly prohibited items that cannot be shipped to Qatar are alcohol, drugs (incl. some medicines), pork products, wireless transmitters and communication equipment and a few more. For further detailed information about do’s and don’ts foreigner relocating and shipping their goods to Qatar are highly recommended to contact the international moving company of their choice before deciding on the goods they want to ship.
That said, the process of shipping your belongings to Qatar will be carefree if you align with the rules and restrictions of the country.
Qatar is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. The small Gulf Emirate was poor and underdeveloped before the oil and natural gas reserves were discovered in 1950s enabling the emirate to start large scale infrastructure improvements. Along with that, the quality of life of Qataris showed high levels of improvements as well.
Since Qatar is a small Gulf state, a large number of foreigners was needed to maintain the development. Nearly 85 percent of the inhabitants in Qatar are expats moving to the emirate from all around the world. Getting used to the cultural differences and the foreigners in Qatar is not a big issue for newcomers since Qataris make up only 15 percent of the population of the emirate.
Expats moving to Qatar usually realise that this small sized country offers more than what they would imagine. From weakly beach parties and camel racing to fishing excursions and dune bashing, relocating to Qatar will certainly not bore you.
Money and the weather are two of the most important things that have an impact on the life in the Gulf State. Summer months are usually most challenging for expats moving to Qatar due to the extremely high temperatures. Outdoor activities are certainly not an option during July and August. Once these months pass by, living in Qatar turns out to be very fun and expats find many activities to keep them occupied.
Expat women relocating to Qatar may need to make some adjustments in the way they dress and behave in public. However, they are not expected to wear abaya (a dress that covers the whole body of the women- from head to toe). Although the vast majority of the inhabitants of the country are foreigners, Qatar remains a conservative Islamic state. If you want to have a trouble free removal to the Emirate you will certainly want to abide by local laws and respect the lifestyle of the Muslim population.
Accommodation in Qatar
Foreigners moving to Qatar will be surprised by the accommodation variations this small Gulf state offers. Whether you want to rent a luxurious villa, an apartment or you prefer living in expat compounds, in Qatar you will surely find what you are looking for. Costs of accommodation remains stable despite the expectations for rental prices to increase and to fail to meet the demand.
It is common for expats moving to Qatar for work purposes to settle in properties arranged by their before their actual arrival. It is safe to say, that this is the way most expats save on accommodation costs and at the same time they are not experiencing the stress caused by the process of house hunting.
Those who are not lucky enough to arrive to accommodation chosen by an employer, usually prefer to rent property within expat compounds. The reason is that they offer 24-hour security and all facilities needed to ensure a comfortable living. Families with children also highly appreciate the idea of living with other expat families, since they can easily make new friends with their neighbours who usually have children as well. It increases their chances to undertake many entertainment activities and to get used to the life in Qatar easily.
There are many variations of compounds available for expats looking for suitable accommodation. They can consist of just a few as, well as hundreds of units, depending on the compound. Usually they are equipped with a shared swimming pool and a gym. In some cases they can also have other luxury facilities such as tennis courts, restaurants and many more.
Expats relocating to Qatar are expected to pay one year’s rent for their accommodation upfront. If you move to an arranged place, it is usually the employer who negotiates with landlords. If this is applicable to you, it is likely that everything is arranged for you from your employer. Furthermore, utilities are not part of the monthly rent and expats need to pay their bills separately from the rent. Important to note is that air conditioning is a must in Qatar. Make sure that your apartment is equipped with this facility and if not to install it because summertime in Qatar is hard to survive without an air conditioning.
International removal to Qatar is often a process that requires quite some attention and good planning. Furniture prices could usually be high and shipping container with your furniture could be an option for you. If so a 20′ or 40′ container might well come in handy for the goods. International removal companies could also offer different alternatives depending on the volume and the services required. It is important to note that there are certain restrictions on what can and what cannot be shipped to Qatar. Although international moving companies could provide you with a detailed list containing the restricted items, keep in mind that anything that is considered against Islam such as alcohol, drugs, CDs and book containing “inappropirate” content will be confiscated. To ensure a trouble- free international removal it is best prepare a detailed list with the items in the container. International removal companies selected undoubtedly should be those with experience and good references. Even if you are sure to be working with professional international moving companies it is always advantageous to conduct a small scale research about the destination, as well as the international movers.
Although compound housing is a widespread option among foreigners moving to Qatar, renting villas and apartments is also commonplace for the ones with sufficient resources. Typically, villas in Qatar are very spacious with four or more bedrooms and enclosed gardens. Often they are semi-furnished with air conditioning. If you rent a villa you are free to furnish it depending on your own taste. It will also enable you to use your furniture shipped from your home country using the services of international removal companies with good reviews and qualifications.
Whether you live in a villa or compound, life in Qatar is usually very satisfying and expats relocating to the Gulf state enjoy its numerous activities it offers. You can sleep under the stars in the desert enjoying the magical sunrise over the Persian Gulf, or visit the Museum of Islamic Art that offers a breath-taking exposition of Islamic artefacts and contemporary collection. Moreover, the night view in Qatar’s capital Doha will be part of the city that will astonish expats relocating to Doha.