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Housing and Lifestyle

Qatar - Housing and Lifestyle

 

 

What is living in Qatar really like? Here is a brief summary of what to expect from life in the region, from housing options to the more general daily routine. 
 
Housing


Many expat families who move to Qatar will live in a campus-based housing facility, often run by the institution they are working for. These facilities are essentially walled suburbs that enclose a whole host of amenities, such as a gym, swimming pool, smaller convenience shops and even restaurants on occasion. Campuses are a great place to meet fellow expats – often from your home country – and generally boast 24-hour security.

Some people opt to live outside a campus, and will choose a flat, villa or apartment elsewhere. These are readily available, especially in Doha, the capital city. 

Whichever type of property you choose, if your employer is not organising your living arrangements then it’s strongly advised you get a professional agent, to navigate the language barrier and any potential pitfalls. A typical 3-bed property can cost £1,850 per month outside a city centre, rising to £2,850 per month in a more central location. For all housing, the landlord often requires a year’s rent upfront. 

It is possible to buy property in certain cases, but as a number of restrictions apply this actually isn’t a very practical option. Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to this. 

Lifestyle

Moving to Qatar can be a very rewarding experience, but there are a number of cultural differences to life in the western world that you ought to consider before relocating. 

  • The working week is from Sunday to Thursday, between the hours of 07:00 and 15:00. Almost everything is closed on Friday, the Muslim holy day. Standard opening hours are reduced further during the holy month of Ramadan. 
  • Qatar is one of the world’s most liberal Muslim countries, but life in the country is ruled by its faith. Muslims pray five times during the day, and the mosques issue a call to prayer through public address systems at the selected times.  
  • The calendar is based around Islam’s religious events; for example the main public holidays are around Ramadan rather than Christmas, so you would be expected to take your annual leave to celebrate this. The international schools close for two weeks at Christmas / New Year, and also for a fortnight at Easter. 
  • Women must cover their shoulders and knees whenever out in public. Similarly, men are not permitted to wear singlets or vest tops, and shorts are often advised against. This is an ongoing issue; as recently as 2013 the government launched an initiative reminding people of both genders to “stay covered up”. However, in compound accommodation and other private areas, there are no such restrictions.  
  • For women who are in Qatar on a family permit, it is possible to register to work in the country if you wish, though this is uncommon. 
  • If you are bringing your family to live in Qatar with you, only married partners will be considered eligible to apply for a residential visa. It is forbidden to live with your partner if you are not married, and pregnancy outside of wedlock is also punishable – often with deportation. Please note that same-sex relationships can face very serious consequences. 
  • Alcohol is legal in Qatar, but a special licence is required to purchase it. It is also only available in selected hotels, as it is not widely tolerated in the country. It is an offence to be drunk in a public place. 

Entertainment

There are many varied entertainment options on offer in Qatar, which are enough to keep you busy whatever your interests may be. For family-orientated fun, there are theme parks, cinemas and theatres. Many outdoor activities are also available, due to the warm and dry conditions for much of the year. These include – but are not limited to – diving, windsurfing and desert safaris. You might prefer to relax on one of Qatar’s many beaches in your spare time instead.

There's also an array of shopping malls with a fantastic selection on offer. These also feature coffee houses where many expats socialise with their friends. Alcohol is not widely available in public places, but there are a few hotel bars if you feel like having a drink.   

Qatar is home to many cultural highlights, particularly in Doha, so you are bound to find plenty to show to visitors, and to take in for yourself during your time here. 

Weather

With its dry desert climate, Qatar is warm all year round. Winter temperatures typically average between 18-20°C. In the summer months, the thermometer regularly averages at about 40°C – and readings in the 50s are not unheard of! The risk of dust storms in the warmer weather is the main complaint; most people stay indoors on days when this is a threat, and enjoy the comfort of air conditioning. Rainfall is scarce at any time of the year. 

The decision to choose a career in Qatar is entirely yours, and can only be made by you. But if you are looking for a rewarding experience in a completely different culture then a move could be ideal for you. And if you’re of Islamic origin, then moving to Qatar could allow your family to experience your roots, and absorb authentic Muslim culture. 

 
 

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