Qatar is a sovereign Arab emirate, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the north-easterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island kingdom of Bahrain.
Qatar is an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Before the discovery of oil, Qatar was noted mainly for sea trade and pearl hunting. It was a British protectorate until it gained independence in 1971. Most Qataris belong to the strict Wahhabi sect of Islam.
Qatar has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels which has fuelled Qatar to become world’s richest country per capita and achieve the highest human development in the Arab World and 36th highest globally; furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank and also the 19th most peaceful country in the world. Qatar is currently undergoing transformation under the National Vision 2030, in which it expects to achieve an advanced, sustainable, and diversified economy. In order to promote tourism, Qatar has invested billions into improving infrastructure, it held the 2006 Asian Games and the hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to host either of the events.
Officially, working hours are Sunday through to Thursday (weekends in Qatar are Fridays & Saturdays) and the staff commences work at 7:30am. Officially, the work day finishes at 3:30pm (there is a 30 minute lunch break).
Your co-workers will be from around the world: Canada, The United States, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanese, South Africa, The Philippines and more.
The patients are Qatari nationals, expatriates, and Qatari hospital staff and their dependents. You will see all types of patients including heart disease, common cancers, and interesting genetic diseases.
English is the working language at the hospital. Translators, and ward clerks who act as translators, are always available to assist in communicating with patients who do not speak English.
You will be provided with either hospital housing or a housing allowance. There are a number of different housing sites throughout the city and in the area surrounding Doha.
It depends on your contract. Senior members of staff are entitled to non-shared housing. All other contracts usually receive shared accommodations, with a maximum of two other housemates.
Telephone: A good international service is available. Local calls are free, but line rental is approximately QR100/month. You cannot have a fixed line installed until your residence permit is complete.
Mobile phones: The country uses the GSM standard. If you own a GSM phone you can bring it with you and insert a local Q-Tel or Vodafone SIM card. A service using pre-paid cards is also available.
Email: There are several Internet cafes around Doha. It is possible to set up private internet either pre-paid or pay-as-you-go.
There are a total of 10 (ten) paid public religious holidays: Eid Al Fitr (four working days); Eid Al Adha (five working days); and Independence Day (one working day).
The Qatar Riyal
Yes. ATM machines accept cards from all over the world via systems like Cirrus and Plus.
Credit cards are accepted in most major department stores, restaurants, and in the gold souks (markets). Some outdoor souks may not accept credit cards.
The expatriate community in Qatar is made up of citizens from around the world: Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, German, Irish, Egyptians, Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Malaysians, South Africans, etc.
The climate is characterized by a mild winter and a hot summer. Temperatures range from 7C/45F in January to around 45C/115F (and even hotter) in the summer. It is usually dry, with the prevailing winds coming off the Saudi deserts, but occasionally the winds come off the Gulf, making it extremely humid.
Yes, both men and women can drive in Qatar. However, a Qatar driving license is required to drive after your first week in the country.
Doha has many lively after-dark scenes. The nightlife is varied, with many bars and discos open until the small hours. Hotel bars range from sophisticated cocktail lounges to typically informal Western-style bars. Most of them serve food and many feature live bands nightly. Doha is also increasingly attracting top names from the world of entertainment. These include popular singers and entertainers from both West and East. Stage plays from London tour regularly, as do major dance groups from Europe and Asia.
There are two English papers: The Gulf Times and The Peninsula. Of course, you can also go online to Al Jazeera English. There are several English-language bookstores, but the stock can vary.
The voltage in Qatar is 220V.
Liquor is a very sensitive subject. It is available for purchase by non-Muslim expatriates, under a permit system, for use at home. Hotel bars and certain clubs also sell alcohol to non-Muslims. Drinking in public and being drunk in public prohibited. Also the reselling of alcohol is illegal.
Gambling is forbidden.
Photography is a sensitive subject. Don’t photograph women, mosques, royal residences or military establishments without permission.
Links to Qatar info sites
Middle East news and information
Gulf Times (daily)
Qatar Tribune (daily)
The Peninsula (daily)