Working in Doha
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Find out how to get a job and work in Doha
The InterNations GO! guide offers you key information regarding the economic climate in Qatar’s capital, women in the workforce, and different business models. Read on to learn all about working in Doha and to make your transition to Doha’s business world as smooth as possible!
Employment in Doha
The number of expats working in Doha has increased rapidly in recent years. As the city’s population has almost tripled over the last few years, the number of foreign employees is rising as well.
Many expats working in Doha find an occupation in fields related to the gas and petroleum sector, as this remains Qatar’s main source of income. Most of Qatar’s biggest companies have their headquarters in the capital.
However, more and more people are working in Doha’s real-estate sector and in construction. Qatar’s successful bid for the FIFA World Cup 2022 will result in further developments in the local infrastructure, creating additional jobs for many people. New stadiums will be constructed and the public transportation system needs to be further developed.
Even without these new economic developments, Qatar’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the entire world. The government makes attempts to diversify its economy and thus create more jobs in different sectors (other than the petrochemical industry) for those working in Doha.
Women in Doha’s Workforce
Although women officially enjoy the support of the Qatari government, those who work in a male-dominated environment may face some less blatant forms of sexism and gender-related discrimination. Female employees are often expected to dress modestly, and cover their shoulders, legs and hair while working in Doha.
In some companies, women don’t work side by side with their male colleagues. They are separated into different offices, much like university students are separated into different classrooms, staying in touch through email or over the phone.
As an expat woman in Doha, it will be useful to know about such unwritten rules. For expat women, it is probably the easiest to find work in Qatar from abroad. In this way, you will not only have a job lined up when you move abroad, but you will be able to avoid the hassle of dealing with the Qatar Labor Department.
Working Women and Qatar’s Law
Women who enter the country on a spousal visa and find work while they are there, will have to visit the nearest office of Labor Department to register as a working woman. They also need their husband’s permission before they can start working in Doha.
Otherwise, women enjoy the same protection under Qatar’s labor law as men. Much of the latest developments in the field of women’s rights are due to the commitment of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Misnad. She founded the “Qatar Investment Corporation for Ladies” and other institutions which help women to become actively involved in all aspects of Qatari life.
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Doing Business in Doha
Doha is known as Qatar’s economic center. The headquarters of the country’s major petroleum producing companies are located here. Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Gas and RasGas employ a considerable number of people working in Doha and all over Qatar.
The city’s economy is largely built on revenues from this sector. Yet, as mentioned before, the government is currently trying to invest in other branches in order to move away from the nation’s dependence on oil and gas. Many employees are now busy with new real-estate or construction projects, which seem to appear all over the city.
New projects, such as The Pearl, are designed to offer all kinds of luxuries to visitors and residents alike, with shops, hotels, restaurants etc. They will make lucrative projects for international investors.
Those who move to Doha in order to open their own business, e.g. their own office or a branch of a company, can choose from different business models.
- A joint venture must be partially owned by a Qatari business partner. With an ownership of 51% the company is, at least theoretically, controlled by them. At the end of the day, however, it is the owner’s choice if they want to look for a business partner with a silent advisory function or one who is actively involved in the business. If the company is investing in agriculture, healthcare, education, tourism or the development of natural resources, energy or mining, no business partner is needed.
- A branch of a foreign company may only be established if this company has substantial investments in Qatar. For this, it must first acquire an authorization by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. The company must contribute to projects which facilitate the development of public services. This business model does not require a Qatari business partner.
- A branch of a Qatari company can be run by a foreign company as well, which will in turn receive a fee or commission. The disadvantage of this business model, however, is that the foreign company loses control over its name, which has to be registered by the local company. In addition to this, this type of business is not considered a local entity and may therefore be legally vulnerable.
- A commercial agency, on the other hand, does not establish an office in Qatar. Instead, it appoints a local company to take care of business, and market goods and services for them. All agents must be registered and fall under Qatar Agency Law.