Many of the eyes that were on FIFA as it announced the 2022 Football World Cup host country glazed over when Qatar was announced the winner. “Where’s Qatar?” people asked…unaware that Qatar is one of the most affluent, successful and quietly flourishing states in the world right now, and that it is poised on the brink of becoming ‘the next big thing’ in the Middle East, and stealing all of Dubai’s thunder!
If you’re an expat living in Dubai and you’re wondering where all the money and opportunity went, look towards Qatar. And if you’re still in the UK but you’re contemplating taking a job abroad and you want a tax-free lifestyle in a country where employment prospects are expected to soar, Qatar should absolutely be a country to consider.
In this report we’re going to introduce you to the subject of living and working in Qatar, so that you can learn more about the prospects available and the lifestyle on offer. And tomorrow, we’re going to provide an A – Z of expat life in Qatar. If you ever kicked yourself for missing the Dubai bubble, fear not – Doha’s ascent could absolutely eclipse it, and chances are, Qatar will have learned enough from Dubai’s catastrophic mistakes to ensure its success is not so short-lived.
Where is Qatar, What’s Doha Like and What’s All the Fuss About?
Qatar is basically a peninsula that sticks out into the Persian Gulf. It borders Saudi Arabia, but the majority of its border is coastline! So, it’s in the Middle East and as a result it is hot and arid and particularly humid in the summer. However, it also enjoys lovely winters when the temperatures are much more temperate, and the nighttimes are cool enough to sleep without air conditioning!
Therefore, Qatar has the climatic advantages that Dubai has – in terms of having hot temperatures that tourists love for example. It also has extensive coastline that it could conceivably easily develop for luxurious real estate and touristic projects – unlike Dubai which has had to ‘reclaim’ land to develop at far greater cost (to the environment and economically speaking).
Qatar also has the tax-free advantages that Dubai offers – Qatar and the UK recently signed a new double taxation agreement that will ensure British expatriate workers permanently resident in Qatar can benefit to the max by enjoying the full benefits of a tax-free salary. However, unlike Dubai, Qatar is still extremely affluent!
Doha is the capital city and economic heart of Qatar; it is also home to about 80% of the state’s population. It’s an exceptionally sophisticated city – and its skyline is beginning to rival Dubai’s. Construction is booming, infrastructure projects are looming and the Doha you see today is poised to become even more impressive by 2022 when Qatar hosts the Football World Cup.
According to local reports, the government has $80 billion already lined up for ongoing development projects across the nation, a further $57 billion to throw at World Cup specific projects, it enjoyed GDP growth of 9% in 2010 and is on target for 16% growth in 2011.
Qatar is already second only to Lichtenstein in terms of per capita income, it has the second lowest unemployment rate in the world, and in order to sustain, maintain and even expand its development, it needs talented, well-skilled foreign workers by the planeload!
The state is aware that its oil and natural gas reserves are limited, and that it needs to make hay while the sun is shining, so to speak. As a result it has established a body to advise on the simplification and streamlining of the business environment, because currently one thing not in Qatar’s favour is its bureaucratic environment which is dogged with red tape!
Looking to the future, the prospects for Qatar are very bright indeed. It is working to establish a well-diversified economy structured entirely for sustainability, and as already stated, it needs workers!
If you’re looking to work abroad, earn a good salary, benefit from not being taxed on income, you want to live in sunshine in a location where the economy is booming and prospects are positive, Qatar should be top of your list.
Tune in tomorrow for our Z to Z of expatriate life in Qatar…