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Considering moving to Doha

Considering moving to Doha

Old Dec 5th 2021, 3:45 pm
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Default Considering moving to Doha

Hi all,
I am a fairly young guy in my late 20s and single.
I am currently considering a position in Doha, Qatar.
The package offered is reasonable, if not brilliant. 11500 QAR per month plus 6000 QAR hosing allowance plus some relocation and other benefits.
TBH I am considering it as I am pretty bored in my current role and it doesn't look like there will be any new opportunities on the horizon. With the housing allowance, it will be a good pay rise from my UK salary and a very good one given the tax differences.
So what do you think? I know Doha has a reputation for being a boring, dull place. Is it worth considering this offer or should I pass on it?
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Old Dec 5th 2021, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

There are others more familiar with Qatar than me, but I would say that's a bad offer. After rent etc I don't think you'll be saving much. Remember that you're going to want to do stuff, and stuff is expensive. Especially anything involving alcohol and or travel. Because you'll likely want to travel to get away.

Of course, you could be very frugal and save cash but is it worth it.

Depends what you've got going on in the UK, maybe suck it and see. One thing is that once you're in the ME, doors often open to better paying positions so that's worth remembering.

I wouldn't say that's anything more than a year for the experience at that salary though.
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Old Dec 5th 2021, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
There are others more familiar with Qatar than me, but I would say that's a bad offer. After rent etc I don't think you'll be saving much. Remember that you're going to want to do stuff, and stuff is expensive. Especially anything involving alcohol and or travel. Because you'll likely want to travel to get away.
Thanks for the reply.
I'll be honest, I made a sideways career move just pre-Covid that didn't work out at all (thanks Covid!). I'm currently in an allied area earning not much more than £25k before tax so not good at all. The salary, housing allowance and a couple of other cash benefits work about at around £45,000 per year which is quite the bump, if not the double/ triple some people recommend going for.

I've looked at some rental places and it seems you can get some decent places for 6,000QAR. One bedroom 75sq.m+ and with a (mini) gym in the building is what I'd be looking for. Hopefully propertyfinder . qa is a legitimate site.

The company has asked for a reply by the end of their week. TBH, I am strongly considering it.
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Old Dec 6th 2021, 6:07 am
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

That’s a good package based on what you’re earning today. You can get hotel apartments for around 7.5k per month which includes all bills, however, not sure how this will be affected by the World Cup. I say do it for the experience alone, you should be able to save some of that tax free cash too.
Good luck.
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Old Dec 6th 2021, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

You're young enough that if you want a taste of adventure, even in Qatar, it may be worth it. What do you have to lose?

A package of 17500 isn't great but it's manageable. What I'd do in your feet is to find a flatshare, not your own place. I knew plenty of expats who shared into their late 30s because their goal was to save money and Qatar wasn't the place to spend extravagantly. I even shared a hotel apartment in West Bay with two other expats despite a package more than double yours because I wanted to keep my attachment to Qatar as light as possible, with no rental contract or car in my name, so I could leave any minute.

https://housing.justlanded.com/en/Qatar/Flatshare

You can find a nice flatshare for under 5k, even in serviced apartments. If you're working in West Bay, find a flatshare in West Bay and walk to work as well as well as to the City Centre mall that has a big supermarket for your grocery needs, which will greatly minimise your transportation expenditures. The less you spend on housing, the better off you'll be, because you'll want to escape from Qatar every now and then and money for travel is better than spending more money on barely nicer apartments.Cheap as chip trips to Thailand and Indonesia and Sri Lanka are all feasible for you.

I don't know your industry but job hopping is common the Gulf, so with experience and dedication, it's not unrealistic to move into management level packages.

Whatever you do, do not get into debt. Avoid debt at all cost.
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Old Dec 6th 2021, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

One major draw is the World Cup at the end of 2022. Should be able to get tickets.

My best mate got a teaching job in Tokyo in 2001. Worked a treat
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Old Dec 6th 2021, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
You're young enough that if you want a taste of adventure, even in Qatar, it may be worth it. What do you have to lose?
You can find a nice flatshare for under 5k, even in serviced apartments.
Whatever you do, do not get into debt. Avoid debt at all cost.
I've just been looking at the contract. Housing allowance is 6000 QAR accountable so couldn't save any of that if I wanted to.

I've never been in real debt in my life. I own my own home in the UK (mortgage free - but don't get too excited as I am not from South East England) so hopefully would avoid anything like that. I can't drive so a car is out of the picture too.

I did think of the World Cup too for the person above. It's certainly a plus.
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Old Dec 7th 2021, 12:45 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by GlobalTrekker View Post
I've just been looking at the contract. Housing allowance is 6000 QAR accountable so couldn't save any of that if I wanted to.

I've never been in real debt in my life. I own my own home in the UK (mortgage free - but don't get too excited as I am not from South East England) so hopefully would avoid anything like that. I can't drive so a car is out of the picture too.

I did think of the World Cup too for the person above. It's certainly a plus.
Hmm. Clarify with the employer what the housing allowance means.

As a FYI in West Bay the Kempinski hotel apartments offered separate leases per bedroom, or something like that. You paid the hotel directly. That could be a way around it.

Also find out where the workplace is. You could spend very little on transportation, or a lot, depending on where you work. If it's in West Bay and you walk to work, then you're sorted. If it's a project site or remote mall on the outskirts of Doha, you're in trouble. The ubers and taxis will add up quickly.
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Old Dec 7th 2021, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
Hmm. Clarify with the employer what the housing allowance means.
It says that it is an accountable allowance of up to 6,000QAR to cover rent excluding utilities. Like I said, I've never lived in the ME, but it is how it worked before when I had a housing allowance previously and is how I thought it worked worldwide. The contract also says I will receive a 550QAR per month 'transportation allowance'. I have no idea what that is and there don't seem to be any strings attached. Annual return flights to the UK are also included.

TBH, I wouldn't particularly like to share an apartment with someone I don't know so would probably look for somewhere alone.

Last edited by GlobalTrekker; Dec 7th 2021 at 2:31 pm.
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Old Dec 7th 2021, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by GlobalTrekker View Post
It says that it is an accountable allowance of up to 6,000QAR to cover rent excluding utilities. Like I said, I've never lived in the ME, but it is how it worked before when I had a housing allowance previously and is how I thought it worked worldwide. The contract also says I will receive a 550QAR per month 'transportation allowance'. I have no idea what that is and there don't seem to be any strings attacked. Annual return flights to the UK are also included.

TBH, I wouldn't particularly like to share an apartment with someone I don't know so would probably look for somewhere alone.
QR 6000/m should easily get you a fully furnished 1-2 bedroom apartment in Doha, eg
https://www.propertyfinder.qa/en/rent/apartment-for-rent-doha-doha-al-jadeed-hadramout-street-395616.html
https://www.propertyfinder.qa/en/rent/apartment-for-rent-doha-fereej-bin-omran-al-maha-393515.html


'Transport allowance' often means exactly that: allowance to cover local public transport costs (Doha Metro is quite good) or fuel/car rental/lease costs if using your own vehicle. Though QR 550/m seems a little on the low side, I would expect at least 1500/m.
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Old Dec 7th 2021, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by GlobalTrekker View Post
It says that it is an accountable allowance of up to 6,000QAR to cover rent excluding utilities. Like I said, I've never lived in the ME, but it is how it worked before when I had a housing allowance previously and is how I thought it worked worldwide. The contract also says I will receive a 550QAR per month 'transportation allowance'. I have no idea what that is and there don't seem to be any strings attached. Annual return flights to the UK are also included.

TBH, I wouldn't particularly like to share an apartment with someone I don't know so would probably look for somewhere alone.
550 QAR/month is a bad transportation allowances. Monthly car hires are usually around 2k. But perhaps it's meant to cover a metro pass.

Most employers officially break down the package into allowances but pay them in the full each month. It's just accounting and it also makes the base salary smaller as your end of service gratuity is based solely on the base and not the allowances. And the other intriguing thing is that many if not most accommodations in Qatar come inclusive of utilities. It's places like Pearl where you pay utilities on top of the rent. I am a bit suspicious of offers that will only pay for a rental contract in your name. Find out more from the employer what this actually means.

The advantage of not having a rental lease in your name is that it makes it much easier to leave Qatar. When you sign a rental contract, you are on the hock for the full amount each month for the duration of the contract because you sign over post-dated cheques. You can transfer the contract to someone else, with the landlord's permission, but you'd have to find someone to take it over. There are always confusions over what happens if you are made redundant because if that means you need to leave the country what are the contractual obligations to your landlord. I've heard a variety of stories and it's always ever shifting. For someone on your income level, making fairly little, there is a distinct advantage to not having a lease in your name. You may get a much better offer in, say Dubai, and want to start a few weeks, but what happens if you're trapped by your rental contract?

And you also get to stay in a nicer place at a lower rent, too. You can find a 1-bed in a more dreary part of Doha. The building will likely be fine but it's Doha. Don't underestimate the gulf between somewhere with decent sanity and vibes like West Bay or one of the compounds and a place like Sadd or along the C-ring road. Maybe it's fine for you, but you may not find it appealing.

So many western expats share in Qatar. It's not difficult to find like-minded people. My experience was pleasant, we were all westerners, we barely saw each other during the week, we had good times on the weekends, always out of the flat. I'm not telling you that you must share, but that there are many virtues to it, especially when you're younger, making a low income, and new to a country.

Last edited by DXBtoDOH; Dec 7th 2021 at 6:44 pm.
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Old Dec 9th 2021, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

OK, so I spoke to the company to get more details. I should point out this is a western company too and not a local one.

Housing allowance - They said that it is accountable and they will only refund what rent I pay. They'll refund the whole rent up to 6000QAR even if it includes utilities, but they won't pay for utilities if it's separate. I have to provide the contract to them and then monthly receipts.
Transport allowance of 550QAR - They said this is something to do with government regulation and is not meant to directly be enough to rent a car or take taxis everywhere. They said I should just take it as a part of my salary.

So the cash elements of my salary are 11,500+550 with a cash refund of rent paid up to 6,000.

I managed to get myself extra time as they originally wanted the decision by today.
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Old Dec 9th 2021, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by GlobalTrekker View Post
Transport allowance of 550QAR - They said this is something to do with government regulation and is not meant to directly be enough to rent a car or take taxis everywhere. They said I should just take it as a part of my salary.
Sorry but they're fobbing you off - transport allowance has nothing to do with "government regulation". On my last assignment in Qatar (beginning of 2021), I was being paid a monthly transport allowance of QR2500 which was enough to rent a medium sized car. This was through a major oil & gas contractor (French).

It sounds like the QR 550/m TA is based on your company's local HR policies (wrt your pay grade), so its a case of 'it is what it is'...
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Old Dec 9th 2021, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by GlobalTrekker View Post
OK, so I spoke to the company to get more details. I should point out this is a western company too and not a local one.

Housing allowance - They said that it is accountable and they will only refund what rent I pay. They'll refund the whole rent up to 6000QAR even if it includes utilities, but they won't pay for utilities if it's separate. I have to provide the contract to them and then monthly receipts.
Transport allowance of 550QAR - They said this is something to do with government regulation and is not meant to directly be enough to rent a car or take taxis everywhere. They said I should just take it as a part of my salary.

So the cash elements of my salary are 11,500+550 with a cash refund of rent paid up to 6,000.

I managed to get myself extra time as they originally wanted the decision by today.
If you can't save from the housing allowance and the rent has to be in your name, find out from the employer what happens if you are made redundant due to changes in circumstances. Who is liable for the remainder of the contract period? You'll find plenty of adverts for apartments up to 6k but so far a quick glance tells me they're all asking for postdated cheques. I suspect for open-ended month to monthly contracts you'd be paying a bit more. Then again maybe there are simple hotel apartments that allow this. I can't do the hunt for you.

I don't like the strings attached to your package offer. I also don't like the idea of paying rent up front and then being paid back by the employer. That's just me and I'm a bit risk-averse. You can live decently enough off 12k with the rent fully covered. At 6k/month you're definitely looking at places like Sadd, and it'd be...ok... if a bit dusty and dreary. Convenient location. You probably won't save anything as anything not spent on day to day living will be on escaping Qatar for holidays.

You mentioned owning a property mortgage-free, presumably you'd rent it out and get a bit of income from it?
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Old Dec 11th 2021, 9:36 am
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Default Re: Considering moving to Doha

Originally Posted by psychopomp1 View Post
Sorry but they're fobbing you off - transport allowance has nothing to do with "government regulation". On my last assignment in Qatar (beginning of 2021), I was being paid a monthly transport allowance of QR2500 which was enough to rent a medium sized car. This was through a major oil & gas contractor (French).

It sounds like the QR 550/m TA is based on your company's local HR policies (wrt your pay grade), so its a case of 'it is what it is'...
I guess so. Perhaps it has something to do with lowering the end of contract bonus?
Having had a look on Uber, random journeys in Doha seem to be around the 10-15 QAR mark. 550 is enough for 36-55 of those journeys. I'm not sure if I'd prefer a car or not.

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
If you can't save from the housing allowance and the rent has to be in your name, find out from the employer what happens if you are made redundant due to changes in circumstances. Who is liable for the remainder of the contract period? You'll find plenty of adverts for apartments up to 6k but so far a quick glance tells me they're all asking for postdated cheques. I suspect for open-ended month to monthly contracts you'd be paying a bit more. Then again maybe there are simple hotel apartments that allow this. I can't do the hunt for you.

I don't like the strings attached to your package offer. I also don't like the idea of paying rent up front and then being paid back by the employer. That's just me and I'm a bit risk-averse. You can live decently enough off 12k with the rent fully covered. At 6k/month you're definitely looking at places like Sadd, and it'd be...ok... if a bit dusty and dreary. Convenient location. You probably won't save anything as anything not spent on day to day living will be on escaping Qatar for holidays.

You mentioned owning a property mortgage-free, presumably you'd rent it out and get a bit of income from it?
Now that sounds like an awkward, if very important, conversation.
I wish Doha had Google Street View as it's very difficult to tell what there areas look like from a satellite map.
With Covid, I wonder how much escaping I would be able to actually do. The package includes one return flight to the UK per annum so that's one holiday almost sorted.
On the last point, I already have tenants living there. It's a very long story, but I am living with my parents at the moment. The income isn't that great to be honest, after taxes and all of the various costs are taken into account, but it's something.
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