What was once among the poorest countries in the Gulf, has now managed to transform itself into a glitzy oasis attracting workers and tourists from all parts of the world. Working in Qatar is an incredibly attractive option, and not just because of its thriving economy, but also because of its rich lifestyle, beautiful attractions and breathtaking desert landscape.
With Qatar preparing to host the 2022 World Cup, construction is sure to remain as the top employment opportunity in Qatar. The country is looking to recruit as many as 1.5 million foreign employees with the World Cup project alone creating as many as 1 million jobs. On an engineering front, civil and mechanical engineers would want to explore opportunities there. The population increase is also expected to have a trickle-down effect on hospitality, food and beverage, service and consumer goods and related jobs. As a result, sales, marketing and finance professionals, chefs, hotel management graduates, designers and architects will also find Qatar to be an attractive proposition.
Since the region doesn’t have personal taxation, the net income is far greater, and one of the biggest attractions of working here. Employers offer a salary which is expected to cover expenses such as housing allowances, air tickets for home visits, car allowances, basic salary, etc., but performance bonuses might be offered in some cases. In addition to the salary, contract workers also receive an indemnity at the end of their contract, and this could end up being a significant sum of money depending on how long one has worked for the company. There are cases of delay in payment of salaries, but it isn’t a major concern usually. Working conditions for professionals visiting Qatar is generally good. The working week tends to vary between 40 – 48 hours and this means that you have enough time to enjoy your personal life as well.
Things, however, aren’t rosy all along the job chain. Horror stories of laborers suffering in Gulf countries aren’t new. Problems are usually compounded by middlemen who charge exorbitant amounts of ‘fees’ and leave the workers without proper documentation. In many cases, their counterparts in Qatar have also added to the misery by not paying workers on time or offering crowded, unhealthy or poor living conditions. To sum up, while moving to Qatar may not be a favorable idea for laborers, the country is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for professionals due to the attractive salaries and perks.
FIFA World Cup 2022 is sure to become the most controversial world cup ever, but it has worked wonders for the economy of Qatar. The country has vast reserves of natural gas and it isn’t afraid to pump the money into building a city of the future. As a result, the construction, tourism and hospitality industries are sure to dominate the jobs market over the next few years. Qatar will always have a place for professionals involved in these sectors, and as its population continues to swell, one can also expect an increase in demand for men and women in retail, healthcare, education, F&B and consumer goods and services.
Working in Qatar sounds like an attractive proposition, but getting a visa isn’t the easiest thing to do. In order to get a Qatar work visa, you need a Qatar national to act as your sponsor. Since all businesses in the country must be owned by nationals, the employer usually acts as the sponsor.
Once the sponsor is confirmed, the employer applies for a NOC certificate on your behalf and the certificate is then stamped onto the passport before you enter the Doha airport.
After getting the NOC certificate, one must apply for a residence visa. You must have the residence visa before entering Qatar. The residency visa lasts for a total of 2 years, but is only granted for a period of 6 months. That said, getting it renewed is a straightforward process. It is usually recommended to renew the visa at least one month before expiry.
The following are the documents that are required for a residence permit in Qatar.
• Photograph of employee
• Original passport of employee
• Blood group certificate
• Residence permit application (printed and signed by sponsor)
• Labor Contract duly attested by the Labor Department
• Establishment ID of hiring company
At the airport, a sticker is placed in your passport. This sticker has your visa number and a stamp which says that you need to appear before a particular authority within 7 days from the date of entry. If you are not already registered with the official government website (https://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/eServices/iFrameServices.html), it is important for you to do so. Please ensure that the ID number and the mobile number are in the same name before registering.
A medical also needs to be arranged, and usually, the sponsor or the employer is in charge of arranging the same. The Medical Commission takes all medicals and charges QR100 as fees. Remember, getting the medical done at an authorized public hospital is much cheaper as the private ones tend to be much more expensive. Visa applicants must have TB and HIV tests done, as well as a blood test and an x-ray. To get this medical done, you will need a copy of your residence permit, your original passport and a credit/ debit card. Results are usually available within 3 days.
After the medical test, the applicant is called in for a biometric scan in the Main Branch of the Ministry of Interior. The form needs to be filled in Arabic and has to be signed by both you and your sponsor. You will need your original passport, a duly signed and filled form, attached photograph, blood group test results and a copy of your sponsor’s ID. Present these at the Immigration office. Your passport will be returned to you along with an ID card.
Working in a male-dominated environment and being an expat living in a foreign country is never easy. Female employees are expected to always dress modestly and may also be subjected to gender-related discrimination in some cases. Certain companies have been famous for separating their male and female employees into different offices. As an expat woman in Qatar, it always makes sense to understand a few unwritten rules, following which it becomes much easier to land a job in Qatar.
The number of women in the country’s workforce is constantly growing, particularly for those who have already worked for Western companies and those in senior positions. Sectors such as engineering and teaching have a strong demand for women as Qatar races to meet deadlines for planned infrastructure projects. HR could have been an interesting option, but it has been entirely reserved for Qatari nationals. Expats have constantly advised those looking for jobs in the country to not believe what is possible and what isn’t possible. Take ‘expert advise’ into account, but never give up without trying!
Expats living in Qatar have enjoyed the easier working hours, increased cultural exposure, better health access, enriching family life and lesser taxes. Moreover, Qatar is very safe. Far safer than the US! One could be completely comfortable here, provided you learn to make a moral compromise and adjust to the country’s seemingly strict rules. Despite all the promise, the country still receives lots of bad press. Qatar certainly offers a lot to its jobseekers, and so the answer to this question is very complicated. After all, the bad press does have some truth behind it.
Labor exploitation in Qatar is ubiquitous and well documented, and South Asians living in Qatar are among the most abused and the poorest, but things certainly look promising. After all, Qatar recently introduced the concept of a labor city, offering spacious accommodations, TV viewing areas, air conditioner rooms, storage lockers and centralized catering services to its labor class. And there are plans to open seven such areas in the near future.
Qatar certainly has its good, bad and ugly, but things do look promising. And if you’re a working professional looking for a job in Qatar, you’ve really got nothing to worry about, except the odd look that most Indians tend to get while interacting socially.
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