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Thursday January 24th 2019

Account of a Singaporean Expat Working in Qatar

This editted article was reproduced from the blog Days of living and working in Qatar with permission
Getting a job in Qatar
The whole world is currently undergoing a recession¬† including¬†¬†oil-rich ¬†countries in the Middle East but not Qatar… it is¬† one of the few countries that is still going strong and is expected to come out of the current economic gloom stronger than ever.

Some of you may even be considering getting a job in Qatar. Feel free to do so Рafterall, almost 80% of the workforce here are migrant workers from outside of Qatar and they range  from the top professional manager to the middle engineer to the lowest laborer.

There is likely to be a suitable position for you whatever your background is  because every Qatari organisation - foreign or local  at every level -  requires migrant workers.

You can get a job by referring to the many on-line jobsites, international job agencies, Qatar newspapers on-line classifieds, industry discussion forums and professional magazines. The vacancies are there… just make the effort to hunt it down.

One word of advice though -  the immigration and labor laws in Qatar are pretty unique and may be quite different from the country that you are  coming from. Be sure to research on your prospective employer and the complex  Qatari immigration and labor regulations before you sign on the dotted line.

While there are many happy stories of migrant workers and expatriates who have found good employers, there are also many who have suffered under bad employers. So, carry out¬† your research well…

Anyone wants to be an ice skating instructor in a shopping mall?

Food in Qatar

Once you have settle down with your  job in Qatar, the next big  challenge is invariably food.

If you want to cook, you’ll find that many¬† foodstuff you can easily¬†purchase ¬†in your home supermarket is not available here. It does not matter where you are from as ¬†I hear the same¬† complaints from my Lebanese, American and British colleagues.

For those who regularly have pork as part of their diet, you may suffer from ‘pork-withdrawal symptom’ – ¬†if there is ever such a symptom. Sufferers of such symptoms are known to take flight over the weekend to nearby Dubai or Bahrain to satisfy their withdrawal crave.

Some will try to sneak some pork back after their weekend mouth-watering rendevous and hide-and-seek stories with airport custom officers are well regaled adventures.

Not only is  pork  not available in this strict Muslim country but common vegetables such as Kailan, Bak Choi, Bean sprout, Kang Kong are rarely  available and  if its ever available,  you have to purchase them  at a high price.

Americans will complain that their favorite snacks are not available, Lebanese the quality of Yogurt, Italians the selection of olive oils, Englishmen the availability of sausages, Singaporeans the choice of vegetables, etc. Even though  the supermarkets here are huge, they can never satisfy the variant needs of the different nationalities who have congregated in this small country.

Food is certainly  another  challenge also for those who do not cook.

You’ll find restaurants and food courts only at the malls and hotels. There are¬† a sprinkling of restaurants along some roads and petrol kiosks. However, it does not matter where you find them – ¬†your choices are always limited to:

1. American Fast Food (They are everywhere!)
2. Middle Eastern Fast Food (Almost everywhere!)
3. Indian Food

Fast Food – Invented in the Middle-East?
Middle Eastern Fast Food – Sharwama
Indian Bryani

For those who abhor fast food, you are in deep trouble. Your next best bet is the Shawama (if you do not get sick of it) or the Indian Bryani (if you do not mind getting clogged arteries).

Once you want to move past these 3 choices, you will now face the other challenge of:

1. Finding parking spots
2. Pay the high price

What has that got  to do with having your favorite food?

Well, the better restaurants, be it Italian, American, Chinese, Thai or Japanese are inevitably located in malls or hotels where parking is almost always a hassle and food prices are 50% or more what you would  need to pay in your native land for the exact same food.

You either live without your favorite food or you can go through the hassle of finding parking lots and/or paying through your nose for the privilege of indulging in some comfort food.

For some, the indulgence of their favorite food in hotels come with the added benefit of having alcohol -   the only place in Qatar where you can have food with alcohol outside of your home.

For the rest of us, where money does not fall from the sky or spurt from underground, I hear that Instant Noodles, Pasta and sandwiches are perennial favorites.

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One Response to “Account of a Singaporean Expat Working in Qatar”

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