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Coming to Qatar

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COMING TO QATAR

So you're moving to Qatar? Perhaps your thinking about it! Well if you check the 'Cost of Living' section, you'll be able to get a general idea of what things cost around here. As mentioned in that section, Qatar is a fairly cheap country to live in (excluding rent). The government doesn't charge a lot for most things such as water, electricity and home phone lines; Qatar has hardly any taxes; The only one that comes to mind is import tax, but even that is quite cheap.

If you've thought about moving over, then I'd imagine it means you've been offered a good job or simply want to live somewhere new. We've compiled a list of important information to consider. Please go to the 'Working in Qatar' section for more information. Here are a few of the more common questions.

What does the average employer provide?

Again, it depends where you will be working, however accommodation expenses, educational expenses, and food allowances can be given in addition to your salary. Some businesses will give you free accommodation.

Where can I get specific information and comparisons?

Please go to the Cost of Living section on this site. I've included information on Transport, Accommodation, Vehicles, Utilities, Mobile Tariffs, and a general price chart.

Can I drink alcohol in Qatar?

Yes, Qatar is not a dry country. If you want to drink alcohol in a hotel, bar, or club, it's simple. If you want to buy alcohol for consumption in your home, then you need to purchase a license. (More information below)

If you are coming with a family and have children, the two main things to think about are education and accommodation since they can be expensive (although prices are levelling off now). If you've been offered a position, most jobs will give you housing and/or school fees. My personal advice is to NOT be shy to negotiate your salary!

Qatar has a booming economy. With every developing country, there will be inflation, however inflation does level off and decrease as more competition and development is put into place.

Facts & Stats

Period 2006-2007

COUNTRY

INFLATION

SALARY INCREASE

Qatar

6.8 %

11.1 %

Japan

5 %

2.4 %

US

2.97 %

1.9 %

China

9.7 %

3 %

Korea

3 %

5 %

India

4.7 %

4.6 %

Accomodation

The price of accommodation in Doha is increasing at the moment due to the economic boom. The government is working on a new system to help insure that inflation stabilizes and hopefully decreases. Rent is not as cheap as it used to be in Doha, however you can always search for cheaper accommodation outside of Doha.

If you're going to be in Qatar for a long period, why not consider buying a property? It's probably better for you in the long run and it's a guaranteed investment!

When it's time for you to search for an accommodation make sure you decide what type is suitable for you. Do you want a compound? Villa? House Share? or Apartment?

Furnished, Semi-furnished, or Unfurnished?

It's totally up to what you want of course, I recommend either asking for Fully Furnished or Unfurnished (the latter being my preference). If you choose a Semi-furnished accommodation you'll end up tied up for more than what the apartment is worth.

Semi-furnished:

This contains the basics, perhaps simple appliances, air-conditioning, and all utilities set up.

Unfurnished:

Unfurnished housing has levels of variation. Most unfurnished dwellings do not include major appliances, carpets or curtain rods. In addition, most older spaces do not include closet space, kitchen cupboards or bathroom storage. It is always a good idea to ask the vacating tenant if they are willing to sell you any of their furnishings. This will spare you the time and expense of purchasing and installing new items. Whilst interviewing the former tenant or prospective neighbour, confirm an approximate cost for utilities and the landlord's efficiency in handling minor or major problems with the property.

Location, Location, Location

Where you live is important. If you live Doha, you have to expect that the capital will be more expensive than other areas. Qatar is not that big anyway, so if you live outside of Doha, it should take you around 1-2 hours to get to the heart of the city.

Safety?

You'll be safe wherever you live. Some places don't look as nice as others, but at the end of the day you can be sure that you'll be safe and secure in the comfort of your own home :) So where can I find a place to rent? You can look in newspapers, go to a housing agent, or simply drive around and search for 'To Let' signs. Here are some websites for letting agents:

Direct Qatar | Mirage Property | Home2Rent | Qatar Property Planet

In Qatar, the commission of a real estate agent is paid by the landlord NOT the tenant.

Rent comparison (in different countries)

COUNTRY

DESCRIPTION (SEMI F.)

COST (QR)

Qatar (Doha)

2 Bed, 2 Bath, Lounge, Kitchen, Parking

4500 - 10,000

England (Colchester)

2 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge/ Kitchen, Parking

5,500

England (London)

2 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge/ Kitchen

7,500 - 16,000

USA (Pacific Northwest)

2 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge, Kitchen, Pool

4,400

USA (New York)

2 Bed, 2 Bath, Lounge Kitchen, Parking

8,000

Japan (Tokyo)

1 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge/ Kitchen

4,600

France (Paris)

2 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge/ Kitchen, Parking

8,800

China (Shanghai)

3 Bed, 2 Bath, Lounge, Kitchen, Parking

3,700

Philippines (Manila)

2 Bed, 2 Bath, Lounge, Kitchen, Parking, Pool

3,200 - 5,000

India (Delhi)

2 Bed, 1 Bath, Lounge/ Kitchen

2,200 - 4,000

Thank you to all of those who contributed this information. (The above are averages)

Alcohol

As mentioned, drinking alcohol in a bar, hotel, or club is simple. You do not need a permit, only ID. If you want to drink at home, you'll need to get a permit to buy the alcohol. This can be obtained from the Qatar Distribution Company.

Where to buy alcohol and the permit?

The Qatar Distribution Company.

Directions:

Drive along C-ring road from the airport. You will come to "Ramada Junction" – traffic light signals with the Ramada Hotel on your right. Turn left onto Salwa Road. Drive over the fly-over and along Salwa road. Eventually you will come to a roundabout with a sign pointing towards the whole markets. Take the third exit off the roundabout. Drive along the road (whole market street), going straight ahead at the roundabout by the markets, for several kilometres. Eventually you will come to a building with black railings. Turn left straight after the railings, and just before the Qatar Technical College. Follow the road round and you will come to the Qatar Distribution Company.

Contact:

Tel: 4699412 / 4699413 / 4687547 Address: PO Box 9483, Doha, Qatar (Contact details and directions from Qatarvisitor)

What you need to get a permit:

You will need to provide a letter from your employer which must state your position, salary (must be above 4000QR and must say "Basic Salary"), state if accommodation entitlement is received or if the free accommodation is provided, and your marital status. This must all be written in English, be dated, stamped, and signed by the authorized individual in the company you work for. It must be specifically addressed to Qatar Distribution Company. You must also provide your Passport (or ID), a copy of your residence permit, and 1000QR (which is a returnable deposit). You will then be given an application form and must mention your religion. GCC citizens are NOT allowed to receive a permit. Muslims are not restricted.

So it's simple. You need a letter, ID, Residence permit, a deposit, and fill out a form.

Remember! It is NOT tolerated if you get drunk in public and cause any indecent behaviour. You could be sent to prison for a certain amount of time, receive a fine, or both. Any person found drink driving is punished for a minimum of 1 month and could face deportation.

Other

Electronics:

Electronics are MUCH cheaper than most countries. Qatar is the cheapest country in the world to buy mobile phones for example.

Clothes

Buying local clothes of course will be cheap. Designer labels are cheaper than most countries however not significantly. This is because Qatari people like to dress well and appearance is an important factor for them.

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