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Qatar - Move or not?

Qatar - Move or not?

Old Nov 17th 2016, 8:18 pm
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Default Qatar - Move or not?

Hi All,

I'm looking for a bit of advice & opinions here as a single male with no kids.

I've been made an offer to leave a secure job here in the UK and move to Qatar as part of a 14 month contract and to be honest i have no idea what to do.

The salary comes to approx £15,000 more than my current one and i will be doing the same job. I'm currently in the 35k - 45k bracket here in the UK.

I will live on a compound area with at least a room to myself Sunday - Thursday with a hotel paid for for weekend in Doha.

For every 2 months worked I get 1 flight home for at least 1 week.

I get a hardship allowance of 10% - 20% but the company aren't being clear on how this works?

All medical expenses are covered.

My main question is the income truly tax free as they are advertising or are there some things i need to be aware of? I am a homeowner here in the UK but will spend over 200 days in Qatar.

Other than that are there any other questions i should be asking or things i need to be aware of ?

Thanks very much!!
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Old Nov 17th 2016, 9:54 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by haggisman View Post
Hi All,

I'm looking for a bit of advice & opinions here as a single male with no kids.

I've been made an offer to leave a secure job here in the UK and move to Qatar as part of a 14 month contract and to be honest i have no idea what to do.

The salary comes to approx £15,000 more than my current one and i will be doing the same job. I'm currently in the 35k - 45k bracket here in the UK.

I will live on a compound area with at least a room to myself Sunday - Thursday with a hotel paid for for weekend in Doha.

For every 2 months worked I get 1 flight home for at least 1 week.

I get a hardship allowance of 10% - 20% but the company aren't being clear on how this works?

All medical expenses are covered.

My main question is the income truly tax free as they are advertising or are there some things i need to be aware of? I am a homeowner here in the UK but will spend over 200 days in Qatar.

Other than that are there any other questions i should be asking or things i need to be aware of ?

Thanks very much!!
Hi there,

From the search function and past posts, here are some small points to consider or clarify:

1) Whether the GBP 15k relates to an annual or monthly addition (in which case you'd need to decipher if the finances work for you, including your tax query / see 5 as well)
2) If you'd be based outside of Doha and then stay in the city on weekends
3) Which hotel that would be
4) If the terms are in writing
5) On return, if the same job would be secured
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Old Nov 17th 2016, 10:15 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by 1one View Post
Hi there,

From the search function and past posts, here are some small points to consider or clarify:

1) Whether the GBP 15k relates to an annual or monthly addition (in which case you'd need to decipher if the finances work for you, including your tax query / see 5 as well)
2) If you'd be based outside of Doha and then stay in the city on weekends
3) Which hotel that would be
4) If the terms are in writing
5) On return, if the same job would be secured
Thanks very much for the reply!

1) The £15K extra is an annual payment (as part of travel time reimbursement, hardship allowance etc)
2) I would be based in a camp in Ras Laffan and Doha at weekends
3) Not asked about which hotel yet
4) No terms are in writing yet which obviously i am keen to secure before accepting anyhing.
5) On return my job is "secure" as i have been offered a staff job rather than a contractor position - however the company are based in Germany and would expect me to expat after the year is done. They have great difficulty finding people with my skill set.
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Old Nov 18th 2016, 4:29 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Hi and welcome!

Your earnings could be UK tax free if you work full-time overseas for a full tax year, and limit your visits back to the UK (to less than 90 days). Your employment contract would need to cover you until 6th April 2018 at the earliest. There are also restrictions on days working in the UK (less than 30 days, from memory). The labour market is very, very different in Qatar and job security is non-existent. A lot of expats don't complete that critical tax-year, and end up with full tax/ NI liability when they return prematurely to the UK, ouch! The O&G industry is shedding a lot of expat jobs just now, in favour of cheaper labour and employing locals (Qatarisation).

Some other things to check in your contract:

Annual leave entitlement (working days or calendar days?)
Working hours and working days per week?
Multi exit permit included?
Employer pension contributions included?
Sick leave cover?
Redundancy payment?
End of service gratuity, which is mandatory?
Private medical cover (or the local hospital)?
Travel costs to/from Ras Lafan to Doha?
Food and other expenses in the Hotel?
Mobile phone provided?
No Objection Certificate (NOC) to move to a new employer in Qatar at the end of your contract?

Having said all of that, I'd be tempted in your position to go for it, it will be a fantastic experience if you can adapt to life in Qatar and stay the course. You could rent out your UK property and pay off a big chunk of your mortgage over those 14 months.
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Old Nov 18th 2016, 4:33 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Keep it simple:

Study in depth the HMRC rules on non-residence. It should be possible to determine if you’ll comply.

As to the financial benefits:
40k UK salary = 2.5k take home pcm (less pension contributions and any BIKs)
55k Qatar salary = 4.6k take home pcm
Sounds like it’s an “all found” basis in Qatar, which means all that 4.6k is pocketable; you won’t have utility costs and the like in UK, but that saving will probably be off-set by your 2-monthly holiday splurges and weekend fun. So, providing you comply with the tax-free requirements, you’ll be around £24k pa in-your-pocket better off than you are now, plus any income you generate from renting your property in the UK. Less what your current employer is contributing to your pension, if anything. So far so good.

Career Prospects:
Generally working in the Gulf only enhances your career prospects in the Gulf, not back in UK. If you return after 14 months, how long will it take you to find a new job? Every month you spend without a job in UK will be equivalent to a month’s extra income from having worked in Qatar.

Check the small print, as per Johnnyboy’s post: probably the only deal-breaker (for me) would be the multi-exit visa, and the risk profile of the employer.

Risk: If it all goes tits-up when you’re out there, you may find yourself back in the UK without having met the tax-free criteria, and without a job. Double whammy. So consider how reputable your prospective employer is, and if it’s project-based what risks there are to the project.

Good luck
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 4:17 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by Charne Candice View Post
Very useful information. I am thinking of joining Qatar airways in which case I will be based in Doha.
Be mindful that you would be working for an local Arab employer in a strict Muslim country. Spend a few minutes searching the internet on how this company treats its staff, before you commit.

If you'll be traveling a lot, aircrew or similar, best get specialist advice on you residency status for UK tax purposes. You'll need to understand and manage any 'Connecting Factors' to the UK.
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 10:38 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by Johnnyboy11 View Post
Hi and welcome!

Your earnings could be UK tax free if you work full-time overseas for a full tax year, and limit your visits back to the UK (to less than 90 days). Your employment contract would need to cover you until 6th April 2018 at the earliest. There are also restrictions on days working in the UK (less than 30 days, from memory). The labour market is very, very different in Qatar and job security is non-existent. A lot of expats don't complete that critical tax-year, and end up with full tax/ NI liability when they return prematurely to the UK, ouch! The O&G industry is shedding a lot of expat jobs just now, in favour of cheaper labour and employing locals (Qatarisation).

Some other things to check in your contract:

Annual leave entitlement (working days or calendar days?)
Working hours and working days per week?
Multi exit permit included?
Employer pension contributions included?
Sick leave cover?
Redundancy payment?
End of service gratuity, which is mandatory?
Private medical cover (or the local hospital)?
Travel costs to/from Ras Lafan to Doha?
Food and other expenses in the Hotel?
Mobile phone provided?
No Objection Certificate (NOC) to move to a new employer in Qatar at the end of your contract?

Having said all of that, I'd be tempted in your position to go for it, it will be a fantastic experience if you can adapt to life in Qatar and stay the course. You could rent out your UK property and pay off a big chunk of your mortgage over those 14 months.
Fantastic response thank you.

The answer to most of the above is Yes.

The contract will be from December 2016 to December 2017 so my immediate concern is i will not be working a full tax year in Qatar. Basically if the money is not tax free i doubt i'll be going and thats what is a killer right now as there is no sure fire way of answering this, or is there? All seems very unclear on HMRC site.

I will keep my home in the UK and its most likely that my girlfriend will be living in it (while covering all bills and then some).

Last edited by haggisman; Nov 19th 2016 at 10:53 am.
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Working a full tax year is critical to meet the Automatic Overseas Test. See Page 10 of this HMRC guide. From what you've posted you'll remain UK resident for tax purposes.

Can't you get your contract extended to 6th April 2018 or later?
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Old Nov 19th 2016, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Unfortunately not, the contract starts in December and lasts for one year. I have been offered to Expat to Netherlands before or after this year of work though but not sure on the dutch laws?
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Old Nov 20th 2016, 4:04 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by haggisman View Post
Unfortunately not, the contract starts in December and lasts for one year. I have been offered to Expat to Netherlands before or after this year of work though but not sure on the dutch laws?
Easy, do your contract and then go for a 3 month holiday in Asia when it finishes.
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Old Nov 20th 2016, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by jam25mack View Post
Easy, do your contract and then go for a 3 month holiday in Asia when it finishes.
Sounds good but although i say its a contract i'd still be employed by my company (hopefully) after the year is finished. Since they are keen to move me to Netherlands could i not just move (or temporarily move) there for the at least the 3 months? or does this leave me open to being taxed by the Netherlands?
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Old Nov 20th 2016, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Move or not?

Originally Posted by haggisman View Post
Sounds good but although i say its a contract i'd still be employed by my company (hopefully) after the year is finished. Since they are keen to move me to Netherlands could i not just move (or temporarily move) there for the at least the 3 months? or does this leave me open to being taxed by the Netherlands?
As far as I know as long as you are out of the UK for the full tax year you are sorted. As such, The Netherlands should be fine.
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