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Working in Qatar


Topics:

  1. Introduction to Qatar
  2. Transportation
  3. Climate
  4. Documentation Required to Enter Qatar
  5. Visas
  6. Property Rental
  7. Shopping in Qatar
  8. Attractions

1. Introduction to Qatar

Qatar, also known as the country or State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf.

Qatar has the world's highest per capita GDP and proven reserves of oil and natural gas. Qatar tops the list of the World's richest countries by Forbes. In 2010, Qatar had the world's highest GDP per capita, while the economy grew by 19.40%, the fastest in the world. The main drivers for this rapid growth are attributed to on-going increases in production and exports of liquefied natural gas, oil, petrochemicals and related industries. Qatar has the second-highest human development in the Arab World after the United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East, trailing behind the U.A.E., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. With a small citizen population of less than 300,000 people, the Qatar workforce comprises expatriates from other Arab nations (20% of population), the Indian subcontinent (India 20%, Nepal 13%, Pakistan 7%, Sri Lanka 5%), Southeast Asia (Philippines 10%), and other countries (5%). Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment, with approximately $60–70 billion coming from the U.S in the energy sector. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years.  

 2. Transportation

The primary means of transportation in Qatar is by road, due to the very cheap price of petroleum. The country as a result has an advanced road system undergoing vast upgrades in response to the country's rapidly rising population, with several highways undergoing upgrades and new expressways within Doha under construction. A large bus network connects Doha with other towns in the country, and is the primary means of public transportation in the city. The Salwa International Highway currently connects Doha to the border with Saudi Arabia, and a causeway with both road and rail links to Bahrain at Zubarah is due to begin construction shortly. The causeway will become the largest in the world, and will be the second to connect Bahrain to the Arabian Peninsula.

Currently, no rail networks exist in the country. In November 2009, however, the government signed a $26 billion contract with the German company Deutsche Bahn to construct a railway system over the next 20 years. The network will connect the country itself, and will include an international link with neighbouring states as part of a larger rail network being constructed across the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. A railway link is also under construction between Qatar and Bahrain as part of the Qatar Bahrain Causeway.

Qatar's main airport is the Doha International Airport, which served almost 15,000,000 passengers in 2007. In comparison, the airport served only 2,000,000 passengers in 1998. As a result of the much larger volumes of passengers flying into and through the country today, the New Doha International Airport is currently under construction, and will replace the existing airport.

3. Climate

Climate data for Qatar
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F) 22
(72)
23
(73)
27
(81)
32
(90)
38
(100)
41
(106)
41
(106)
41
(106)
38
(100)
35
(95)
29
(84)
24
(75)
32.6
(90.6)
Average low °C (°F) 13
(55)
13
(55)
17
(63)
21
(70)
25
(77)
27
(81)
29
(84)
29
(84)
26
(79)
23
(73)
19
(66)
15
(59)
21.4
(70.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 12.7
(0.5)
17.8
(0.701)
15.2
(0.598)
7.6
(0.299)
2.5
(0.098)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2.5
(0.098)
12.7
(0.5)
71
(2.8)
Source: weather.com

4. Documentation Required to Enter Qatar

 The documents required to enter Qatar include the following:

  • a passport valid for at least six months (it’s useful to have at least three or four photocopies);
  • at least six passport-size photographs;
  • a marriage certificate (if applicable); birth certificates for all family members;
  • a medical certificate in the case of workers.

Note that foreigners working in Qatar must have a certificate to show that they’re in good general health and free from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, although tests are usually also carried out locally. Your sponsor will advise you what’s required.

While you’re in Qatar, you’re required to carry identification documents, e.g. passport or national identity card and appropriate entry and residence visas. Note that it’s common for labour officials to carry out spot checks on businesses in search of workers employed illegally and to inspect passports in the possession of the employer.

This isn’t to suggest that the region’s countries are repressive regimes: expatriates have little to worry about if they conduct themselves in a reasonable way, obey the laws and observe the rules of the culture. Indeed, you will usually be treated with kindness and generosity.

Please Note: Any visible connection with Israel, e.g. an Israeli passport or an Israeli entry stamp, will disqualify you from entry.

5. Visas

GCC (The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) nationals can enter Qatar freely, as can holders of full status British passports (with rights of abode). All other nationalities must obtain Qatari sponsorship through a hotel or an individual. It’s necessary to check that the embassy or consulate you choose to approach has the facility to issue visas.

Tourist Visa

Only hotels are able to procure these, and the visa duration corresponds to your length of stay at the hotel. An onward or return ticket is required, along with the usual documents.

Visitor Visa

You can obtain a visitor visa either via a Qatari sponsor or by submitting your documents to the embassy or consulate in your home country. Single journey stays can be up to three months, but stays of over 30 days require a medical.

Business Visa

Business visas are valid for three months from their date of issue and are for a single visit for a period of one week, with possible extensions up to four weeks. The simplest and quickest route to secure a business visa is for your sponsor to organise one in Qatar.

Work & Residence Visas

The procedure for obtaining work and residence visas is initiated by your sponsor. A number of formalities must be observed, including a full medical examination and the submission of academic and professional qualifications. In many cases, these formalities are dealt with during a visit to Qatar on a visitor or business visa. You might also need to supply original marriage and birth certificates if applying for family status. Residence visas are valid for between one and three years. Multi-entry visas are available in certain circumstances.  

6. Property Rental

There’s a wide range of apartments and villas available in Qatar, both within and outside enclosed compounds, but it should be noted from the outset that expatriates cannot own land or property in Qatar and therefore you will have no choice but to rent.

Most accommodation is in urban or suburban areas. Most visitors are pleasantly surprised when they see the cities of Qatar for the first time, their modern architecture co-existing with traditional houses and ancient wind-towers. New buildings are often spectacular, as oil has provided the money for the best architects, builders and materials. Indeed, there’s competition between developers, who tend to be wealthy merchant families, to build the most impressive structure.

Relocation consultants are used by multi-national companies and larger institutions moving into the region. Some consultants provide practical and cultural help to those new to the region. Culture shock is a real condition that affects many people unused to being outside their home country or culture. The sensible newcomer spends the first few weeks of his contract settling in alone and doesn’t commit his family to a move to Qatar until he has obtained all the necessary permits, has completed his probationary period, if any, and is able to judge whether he’s going to enjoy the working and living conditions. Note, however, that it can take three months or so to acclimatise to life in Qatar, where it’s normal to feel somewhat disorientated for the first few weeks.

7. Shopping in Qatar

Traditional Markets

Traditional markets lie in the city center. Their shops open early in the morning, close for noon recess and open again in the evening. They display incense, perfumes and spices; tailoring, embroidery and jewelry shops and most of the traditional craft shops and objects including the bishoot (men's cloaks), abayat (women's cloaks), swords, daggers, textile and various goods, in addition to traditional restaurants.

City Centre Markets

These markets include Souq Faleh, Souq Al Aseeri, Souq Al Jabr, Souq Al Deerah and Souq Al Ahmed. They sell fabrics, clothes and small electrical goods and they open day and night.

Shopping Centres

They include City Centre, The Mall, Land Mark, Hayatt Plaza, Royal Plaza, Al Mana Center, Al Muftah, Al Salam Plaza, Blue Saloon, Lulu Center, Center Point, Villaggio and others.

Shopping Centers sell various goods imported from America, Europe and East Asia and offer recreational facilities including restaurants, cafes, and cinema houses and children play areas. They open from 9 am to 10 pm.

8. Attractions

Sealine Beach Resort:

Situated 55 km from the capital, the resort offers a large variety of rooms, villas and chalets - all overlooking the sea; alongside with many sports and recreational activities and a number of restaurants.

Al-Gharriyya Resort:

This resort lies on the waterfront of al-Gharriyya area in the north. It comprises a number of super deluxe villas, children playgrounds, a swimming pool and restaurants.

The Zoo:

The zoo lies 20 km from Doha on Salwa Road. It has a varied collection of animals, reptiles and birds as well as a mini amusement park for children. The zoo opens from 3 pm to 7 pm and closes on Saturdays.

Al- Rumaila Park:

This park lies on Doha Corniche. It has grass areas, children rides, a popular market and restaurants. It opens around the clock and entrance is free of charge.

Dahl El-Hamam Public Park:

Situated in KHhalifa Al-Shamalia, this public park contains several green lawns, passages for walking in addition to playgrounds for children. It is open for families free of charges.

Khor Al Udaid Beach:

This beach lies on the southeastern most part of the country, 78 km from Doha. This beautiful beach is distinguished by its fine sand dunes that can be as high as 40 meters in some locations. Other fine beaches include Fuwairit, Dukhan and others.

Al Jassasiya:

Al Jassasiya are a range of rocky hills overlooking the northeastern coast of the country between the two villages of Al Huwailah and Fuwairit. They are famous for their numerous stone carvings and engravings, some of which date back to prehistoric times.

Almaha Sanctuary:

This tourist attraction is established to protect Al Maha (oryx) the endangered desert antelope.