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Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Old Feb 28th 2014, 7:49 am
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Default Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Hi,

I hope someone may be able to help...

I am looking at moving my family to Muscat (if successful on a job application) later this year.

I wondered if I may be able to get some thoughts from people living out there already?

One big question for us involves our 2 girls (4 and 7) and their education. It is clearly expensive, I've looked, but what are the schools like? We have looked at the TLC School and the Royal Flight School (to fit into our budget) - does anyone know those schools or have experience of education in general? I know waiting lists can be long.

The other thing that I find hardest to research is grocery shopping. Plain and simple grocery shopping (including toiletries...). We were looking at Budgeting around 300omr (£460) per month. Currently in the UK we spend the equivalent of around 192omr (£300) per month. Can anyone give me an idea of a weekly shopping bill? Or maybe say if we are being unrealistic about the 300omr for groceries. I've made our weekly shopping bill to be more expensive in Muscat, yet most research suggests Muscat is actually cheaper for most (not all) of your grocery shopping. Is that right? Is it cheaper?

We don't budget, per say, for going out to eat/day trips/ buying new things. we use whatever money is left as well as trying to save.

If anyone feels like adding anything else, you are more than welcome.

Many thanks in advance.

Phil.
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Old Feb 28th 2014, 11:54 am
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Shopping is a tricky one

If you go to Lulu or Carrefour, and only buy from there, then for a family of four (we are) we spend around 100 OMR per week.

However, we also like little things from the UK, that can add up to a lot, and are from Waitrose, imported over, and then you are looking at around 150-200 OMR per week, if you have a treat of a jar of roasted pepper sauce with your pasta (3.4 OMR).

BSM & ABA are very expensive, but primary is ok to get kids in as movement in/out of school is still regular at that level. Secondary is almost impossible. I'm afraid I can only go by heresay for TLC & Royal Flight, the latter has a good reputation.

Cars as an initial purchase can be expensive, so get second hand if you want to save money.

It used to be that the west end of the conurbation (Azaiba, Al Hail) was cheaper than Qurm, MSQ, Al Ilam as living areas, but gradually prices are going up everywhere. Around 1100 OMR per month will get you a nice (but not amazing) place in most locations.

Where are you working? Traffic is a huge problem right now and getting worse. If your wife is not working then you can rely on her to do the school runs, but... the further you live from school the harder it will be for your kids to meet up with others for afternoon playdates / activities.
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 6:49 am
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

thanks OriginalSunshine, that's very helpful.

If I'm sccessful I would be working at the Royal Opera House. So whilst I realise it would be good to be close to work, the cheaper accomodation is futher away. And, from what you have said, being closer to the school may be better. I'm a cyclist as well, so depending on how scary the traffic is, I'd be doing that as well.

I've looked at all the areas so far. But bausher, aziaba, ghubrah and around were looking the most likely - all price and budget dependant.

It's interesting you saying about the wife working, as I think now once there, she would have to be applying for a working visa (as family visa doesn't allow work I believe?) to find something to help.

My wage is only likely to be around 2500omr p/month - and with things to pay back in the UK (and hoping to save...) things could be very tight.

Thanks again for adive/tips it has been very (hugely) helpful.
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 7:15 am
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Sounds like a wicked job and experience. Muscat is an awesome place*

*although I've only visited from UAE.

Good luck.

Original Sunshine is our bored (sic) member in Oman so get badgering for advice
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Old Mar 1st 2014, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Yes, if your wife can find work before arriving and getting in on her own visa that would be best. If she finds work, she has to leave the country and return again. This is easier as a Brit where you can leave and return the same day. As an Indian or Pakistani, they have compulsory 6 month gaps between visas so it is much harder for them.

Do you get your accommodation paid? schooling paid? You should do, otherwise, being very blunt, you will find it very expensive (nigh on impossible) here for the four of you to live and work and go to school at a quality school.

BSM & ABA have a one off registration charge of around 3000 OMR. Then school fees are around 5000 OMR per year per child at primary level.

Royal Flight is cheaper - but you would need to contact the school for advice on fees as I don't know those off hand.

You can find cheaper accommodation in Mawaleh/Al Hail/Athaiba for around 700-900 OMR/month, but utilities can add another 100 OMR/month. Bausher & Ghubra are very industrial areas. There is no zoning though so you can find cheap accommodation (for a reason) out there. I would not recommend living the mountain side of the SQHighway though based on where you work and where you want your kids to go to school.

Working at the Opera House is ok. You will be able to access that via 18 November street as well as the SQH motorway.
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Old Mar 2nd 2014, 12:25 pm
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Sadly - no schooling or accommodation paid for. I may only get a few days help with hotel as an interim.

As I've been discovering, cost is mounting up. Though I do know the flight school is considerably cheaper on fees and associated costs.

It may be that more savings are needed before being able to tackle it - or the wife to find a job! Is there much work/easy to find for expats partners? Its something I'm sure we would need...

Thanks again for all of this.

Phil.
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Old Mar 2nd 2014, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Muscat: Thoughts on moving my family...

Depends what she does. If it's unskilled, then almost zero chance.

But right now, I would say you would be miserable with 2500/month all in. You would survive. But you'd drive a shitty car or two. You'd live in the sticks. You'd not be able to do much entertainment wise (the Opera House is not that much fun!), especially for the 9 months of the year when you are stuck inside with air con. You would struggle to pay housing, schooling, utilities, food, car insurance, petrol. Your medical (compulsory for employer to cover employee only with most basic) for your family. You wouldn't be able to go on holidays during the very long very long very long 10 week summers with 45-50 deg temps, and Ramadhan. Your kids will go feral. Flights out of Oman in the summer can go to 500-600 per person back to the UK.

You really need to think about whether that is worthwhile compared to what you have back home.

I know of teachers on 1500-2000 per month, but they get their fully furnished accommodation paid, schooling paid, and flights back home paid.

I think you would be living month to month.
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