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Possible relocation to Doha - compare it to Al Ain

Hi everyone,

We've (me and my family) been living in the Gulf previously but are currently living in Europe. We used to live in Al Ain, UAE for some time and wondered if there's someone living in Doha who knows/has been living in Al Ain...?

The reason I'm asking is because most of the expats moving to Doha from UAE are from the Dubai area thus comparing everything to Dubai. Now, Al Ain was a lot smaller place and some of our friends from Dubai were happy to visit us but were quite clear that they would never live in Al Ain (where the rents couple years ago were high, the town quite small and missing all the Dubain "action"). We liked living in Al Ain and now there's a possibility of us living in Doha. I've gotten a lot of mixed opinions about the pro's and con's living in Qatar. Instead of comparing it to Dubai, compare it to Al Ain (or Abu Dhabi)

a) Schools - A safe and a good place, I don't really care that much for the "academic level" (of course that's a good thing as well, but my son would attend primary years programme and I doubt we are going to stay for more than Protected content anyway) - I hear the waiting lists are long; are we going to have to do homeschooling (nothing against that either, but the boy's social scene would be perhaps a bit too limited.)

b) Accommodation - Villas - what's a good place to live and is there anything reasonable available for say Protected content year? A prime location is not a must...

c) Maid - we had a wonderful maid from India (we still keep in touch with her). If she's willing, we'd like to have her living with us in Doha. Now, I read somewhere that having an Indian maid is not possible or at least next to impossible. Is this the case? Also, is it true that once you apply to become a sponsor, the Qatar government decides from which country you can hire a maid?

d) General differences b/w Al Ain (or some other non-Dubai town in UAE) and Doha?

Doha Forum