Qatar became an independent state on September 3, 1971. Ever since then, the world has seen this tiny country transform from a desert into a metropolitan hub of the Middle East. It continues to expand and grow steadfastly going on to become a well respected nation.
I have lived in Doha for the past 13 years. My family moved here from KSA in 2006; since then we call it home. So what are some of the things that have kept us and many more rooted to this country? What are the things that attract thousands of expats to move here annually? I asked around and there were a lot of great answers. But the following things took the top spot in making Qatar an amazing destination to live.
Qatar has a number of public and private hospitals. Hamad Medical Corporation is the country’s premier non-profit health care provider. It was established in 1979 and caters to more than a million people in outpatient alone, annually. It operates a total of eight hospitals providing 90% of the acute care in Qatar according to this report issued by HMC.
All residents are eligible for HMC services by signing up for a health card and paying a mere QR 100 annually. For more information, click here. Health insurance is also present, provided by the employer or can be purchased by the individual.
In 2015 my dad was in a car accident which left him in the ICU for 22 days and in the hospital for over four months. You know how much we paid for it? A few hundred riyals.
In Doha there is no tax on personal per capita income meaning I can take home my salary without any tax deductions. That's how I afford all my books and ice cream. For companies and businesses the rate of tax is 10% of a company’s Total State Income, paid annually.
In 2018 new tax regulations were introduced. The law included a 100% tax on tobacco and its derivative products and all energy drinks, along with a 50% tax on all sugary drinks. I personally think that this was a great initiative to reduce consumption of these harmful products.
Qatar was expected to implement VAT from the start of 2019 but it deferred this decision. You can read more about it here.
Qatar has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In 2019, it was named the safest country by Numbeo. Global Peace Index 2019 ranked Qatar as the most peaceful nation in the MENA region.
Thus as a female, I can go out at 2 am knowing that I am safe. I can meet my friends late at night, drive around without fearing for my safety. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I love living here. My mother repeatedly leaves the door of our house open, casually stating, 'Oh, it's Qatar. Relax, nothing is going to happen." However, please don't be like her and lock your door regardless of where you live.
There are over a 100 nationalities living in Doha. It is home to various expat communities exposing everyone to their culture, traditions and most importantly, cuisine. Ooh the joy that Chicken Tikka Masala brings!
When you live in a multi cultural society, you meet different people and experience their culture. You get to see that everyone is as human as you are. Politics, laws and media tend to divide us but when you make friends of different nationalities, you learn about the similarities. You get to know that Harees is very similar to the Kashmiri origin Hareesa that you grew up eating. And before you know it, you are saying, 'Yallah Habibi' like Arabic is your mother tongue.
Doha is home to some of the best universities in the world. H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, mother of current Emir of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Tamim, founded Education City under Qatar Foundation in 1995 which constitutes 9 world renowned universities including Cornell; an Ivy League university. Qatar Foundation also provides financial aid to deserving students.
Qatar also has an excellent school system in place, from local independent schools to international private schools as well as schools that cater to specific communities in Qatar like Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis etc. There are more than 330 schools operating in the country and their fees vary according to the school.
What is your favourite thing about Doha? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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