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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Survey finds expats have hard time adjusting to life in Qatar

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Qatar is among the least friendly places for expats in the world, according to a new report that assessed the quality of life for people living and working away from their home countries.

According to the newly released Expat Insider Survey 2014, Qatar ranked 58th out of 61 nations. It scored just above the bottom three countries: Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The report states that the latter two Gulf nations fared poorly in large part due to a lack of leisure activities and because expats had difficulty settling in there.

The top countries to live for expats, according to Internations, which ran the survey, included Ecuador, Luxembourg and Mexico.

Qatar's ranking on multiple factors.
Qatar's ranking on multiple factors.

The report surveyed more than 13,000 expats from 169 countries this past June, basing its rankings on factors such as personal finance, friendliness, family life and work-life balance.

Good medical care, a feeling of personal safety due to political stability and Qatar’s strong economy bolstered expats’ opinions of living in the country.

But a lack of education options, the desert climate and a rising cost of living were listed as significant challenges that brought Qatar’s ranking down.

Expat bubble

Another factor that strongly affected Qatar’s ranking of how difficult expats find it to feel at home in this country.

Some 45 percent of Qatar residents surveyed said it was challenging to make friends with locals, compared to 51 percent in Kuwait and 37 percent in Saudi Arabia. Expats in Oman (21 percent) and Bahrain (19 percent) appeared to have a much easier time.

According to the report, this is likely because of the high expat to local ratio in Qatar and its neighboring countries.

It continued:

“Even after the initial adjustment period, resident expats seem to struggle at socializing with local residents. Just a third (33%) describe the Qatari friendliness towards foreign residents as good or very good, which could explain why 45% disagree that making local friends is easy; more than double the global average of 22%.”

One silver lining is that only 14 percent of people surveyed here said not knowing the local language (Arabic) posed a problem.

That’s less than three times the global average, with some 45 percent of expats saying not knowing the local language became a challenge for them in their host countries.

Additionally, despite problems with settling in and feeling at home here, some 30 percent of residents surveyed said they relocated to Qatar after actively seeking out job opportunities here – twice the global average.

Work and family

When it comes to working abroad, Qatar ranked 28th out 61 countries. It got high marks – ranking 13th – in terms of job security, but fared lower when it came to work-life balance (43rd) and job and career (51st).

The latter scores were based on length of work week (Qatar’s was 44.8 hours, compared to the 41-hour global average); and job satisfaction, which was low across the Gulf.

Meanwhile, while Qatar was considered a family-friendly country by most expats (63 percent), it ranked last in terms of availability and cost of childcare and education.

Additionally, the top three countries where parents are living without their children are Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The report states this is because quite a few of the expats surveyed in these countries were on temporary assignments and did not bring their families with them.

Finally, the report states that 46 percent of expats in Qatar think they are earning a lot
more than they would back home.

Still, expats here complained about rising expenses – particularly in relation to housing.

Due to this, Qatar was ranked 51st out of 61 countries in the survey’s personal finance/cost of living index.

Here’s the full survey:


Thoughts?

29 COMMENTS

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Doc
Doc
6 years ago

Interesting results coming below Saudi and Kuwait. I wonder if you asked the same questions to expats in Doha that have worked in other GCC countries you would get the same result? Lack of Schools and rising rents I understand but people complaining about the desert climate, did they not use Google before relocating?

Jason
Jason
6 years ago
Reply to  Doc

You might want to have a closer look at the article: “Qatar…scored just above the bottom three countries: Greece, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”

Pretty sure this means Qatar was not below Saudi and Kuwait.

Doc
Doc
6 years ago
Reply to  Jason

I wish I could say English was not my 1st language, or that the article has been changed – But no……… I read it wrong! At least it has confirmed what most people say when asked what Doha is like, “It’s better than Saudi”…………

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Doc

but not Dubai is what I say!!

Farhan Khurshid
6 years ago

Rising rents and restrictions in labor laws (can’t strive for better job because of NOC thingy) is a real concern of expats..

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

Recently DN posted a story about expats struggling to adjust when they went back home. Seems you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

sicti
sicti
6 years ago

Please be advised that Internations is an online expat community and not a research company so have some reservations on the results of the study or results interpretation

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

Correct, but in fairness to Inter Nations…. first page reads “The Expat Insider Survey 2014 was conducted by InterNations, with conceptual input, support, and data analysis provided by the independent market research company Komma GmbH”. In any case, the expats signed up to IN have very little reason to BS on such a survey as opposed to someone questioned in the street and I doubt anyone is surprised by the results….no survey is foolproof however.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Ya interesting correlations you can say, but intrinsically surveys are susceptible to influence from many factors and you could survey the same people with the same questions phrased differently and be presented with the opposite correlations. Like truth.e.ness says below…

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Sorry, didn’t go through all document.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Below Saudi? Just crazy. Doha is an easy place to live, the local language is English, it doesn’t have the crime that some of those higher up the list suffer from and most people get good salaries. (I’m assuming the labourers were not included in this survey).

Apart from the murderous driving, Qatar is easy and has good transport links for those that want to go home frequently.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Let’s read the article before posting people

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Jason

Obviously he didn’t

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Comment removed??

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

I’m running a program, sponsor a local friend… For 6,300 QR a month you can hire me for two weekends each month to hang out with and stuff… You can even show me off to your expat friends.. Look a local man is my friend

Aussiegirl
Aussiegirl
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

LOL, how did you come up with 6,300? Next thing you will have many offers of “what’s your best price” like the FB trading places.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I’m making a citizens arrest as solicitation is a crime as we all know what “stuff” means.

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Can my friends take photos, and poke you with a stick?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Gold…

Satyameva Jayate
Satyameva Jayate
6 years ago

Dear Ms. Khatri, good job on the reporting about the survey. Just wondering if any of the laborers/unskilled work force were included in this survey. If not, why not? Keep up the good work.

Mr. B
6 years ago

Qatar is very much a “smash and grab” job for many ex-pats – it’s about the money and leaving as soon as financially possible.

That being said, I think the saddest part of this is that only 14% thought not having Arabic was a problem. I made a solid effort for years to learn Arabic while I lived in the Gulf but found it tough going since nobody spoke it on the streets or in shops and I rarely heard it in public. I came to the Gulf to learn more than to make money; I was sorely disappointed that the feeling of many of these cities is simply Las Vegas in Arabia rather than what you get from Cairo, Beirut, or Amman.

Doha’s highlight is without a doubt Souq Waqif for just this reason, but even that can feel like Disneyland at times, and it’s terrible that Qatar’s government is racing to demolish its own past and replace it with plaster, mythical reconstructions.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Have you ever been to Cairo? Compared to Doha. OMG Doha is not even in the same universe as Cairo.

Doha’s souk is nothing compared to those in Cairo, Morocco, etc. Selling mostly chinese crap.

I can’t believe that 14% thought it was a problem not speaking Arabic. A near east language maybe but not arabic.

Mr. B
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

That’s a big problem, isn’t it? Qataris don’t make their traditional handcrafts anymore and so the souq is cheapened by these wretched imports. I didn’t move to Qatar to buy a shot glass labeled ‘Qatar’ with the stamp ‘INDIA’ on the bottom.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

So this report would seem to verify all my complaints and has only made LoveItOrLeave and I friends for life.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

It would’ve been interesting if the survey also did us the courtesy of asking “locals” how easy / hard they found it to befriend expats. Even better, breaking down expats by nationalities, race, and gender. Oh, and let’s not forget to find out what different expats thought of each other 😉

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I get it now..tailgating me and flashy flashy is to get me to pull over so we can meet and be friends… ;-)..(not that I am suggesting you tailgate and flashy flashy Im positive you drive very well)

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Like the Pit Bull, teeth sunk into your neck, only wants to play.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Actually, how is it Abdulrahman? Would be interesting to hear your perspective.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

I have no idea how to meet locals! I meet some through my work where they are less than half my age with no experience earing more than double and they treat me as something beneath them. So where would I go to meet locals? I can hardly accost someone in a Mall…

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