Been a long time since I’ve posted anything on LB cos of moving away. Miss all the rideouts tho big time.
So Joby, in answer to your query I’ll start by telling you where I’m at. I moved to Doha, Qatar 15 months ago now. Sold everything before I left, car, roadbike, trackbike, trailer, furniture, everything. As Rosso said I’m planning to be out here for 2 n ½ years. We are building a brand new underground Metro system for the city which has just kicked off construction now. While Qatar is not quite the same as Dubai there are a lot of similarities. Dubai is only an hour away from me across the gulf and I have been there for a nose around alright.
Salary: no rule of thumb as regards twice UK rates or whatever. It depends on your industry and who exactly you will be working for. I’m earning far more than I was in London and that’s not even taking the whole tax thing into consideration.
Salary is also dependent on nationality would you believe, the locals will never pay a native Indian, Nepalese, Philipino, Lebanese (these groups make up over half the population) the same rate as someone from UK/USA/OZ etc (not a 100% rule of course but a general rule none the less).
Yes, you are tax free from the UK but only when you have been out of the UK for one complete year which isfrom April-March the following year. In other words, I have been here 15 months but started in Oct-12 so I have to wait until Mar-14 for all my earnings to be tax-free, so that will be 18 months cos of when I landed out here. Sort the forms out with the revenue before u go, it’s easy.
READ YOUR PROPOSED CONTRACT VERY VERY CAREFULLY.
THEY WILL TRY TO AMEND YOUR CONTRACT AFTER YOU GET HERE. Ours started off with a 40 hr wk, then 45, now 48 and we are expecting the locals to insist on us working 6 days a week next, all with no pay rise by the way. They pay well but expect to get their money’s worth too.
Check recruitment websites etc to get an idea of what salaries are being offered for similar positions.
Nice accommodation is very very expensive, make sure you are getting an allowance or they are paying for it. Medium accommodation/apartments might sound ok but you will be surrounded by undesirables………Budget for at least GBP2,000 a month for an apartment. You might think this will be too luxurious and unnecessary but trust me.
Does your package include travel allowance which would allow you to buy/long term lease a vehicle? Make sure it does. What other expenses will they cover? Flights, relocation, elec/water……?
Many people buy new vehicles here and spend a fortune but the garages rip you off, you go in for a set of brake pads but then they hold your car saying they cannot release it as the “roadworthy certificate” cannot be issued until you buy 4 new tyres, new steering column, unobtainium paint and sidewinder missile launchers. This is not a yearly MOT, simply your car has entered their garage and they have the right to hold it if they deem it “unsafe”. They will screw you over. Most of us do long term leasing/hiring which means all the insurance, registration costs, servicing, tyres, accident damage is covered by the hire company. This might sound silly but they treat their vehicles like sh!t here so there is always problems with them. Mechanics in this part of the world are a complete joke, I have spoken to many now and just laugh at their complete and utter incompetence and lack of knowledge. Of the 90 of us in my company here, about 20 have been crashed into already due to the poor driving standards. All of us unhurt luckily but all we had to do was make a call and get a replacement vehicle within the hour and on we go. No hassles with repairs, insurance, police reports, etc. My parked car was crashed into, luckily I was not in it, one call later and the hire company simply replaced it, job done, no hassle.
Which gets me onto the driving here, it is HORRENDEOUS! I have driven/ridden on 5 continents and about 40 countries at last count and here is the worst driving I have ever seen. It is a complete joke. After 15 months I am still shocked every morning on my commute with the things I see.
Get an automatic, do not get a manual !!! U will understand why after 5mins of driving over here……………I was of the same opinion as you but quickly changed my mind here after day 1driving.
There is an active bike scene in this part of the world. Not as developed as in UK/europe but coming along. I bought a bike here a few months ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t but I just couldn’t stay off them. Best thing I did for a number of reasons:
It gives you something to do in the evenings/wends. Boredom is a huge problem in this part of the world.
It gets you out to meet other people besides your work colleagues.
Trackdays are cheap out here.
But parts/clothing/accessories can be hard to get, be prepared to wait or get them sent out to you. They have some stuff here but not everything.
Tyres are very expensive.
There are no country roads or hills to ride, just straight desert roads but at least it’s something with like minded hoons chums haha
A lot of people do leave after 6 months, they just cannot take the place/work/being away/ or whatever. It is very unstable here, everyone vying for position, lots of office politics with people protecting their own little empires (read: protecting their own paypackets) so frequent resignations, hiring & firing activities.
Some people fall into the trap of earning loads and living the lifestyle to match: expensive fancy cars, live in maids, wives being bored and spending a fortune in designer shops in the malls here, personal drivers, GBP100 meals every other night, flying out every month to visit yet another country, etc.
If you are coming out here on your own you will be better off in terms of trying to save money, wives and kids school fees, transport etc all drain what you think you will save.
If you are sensible, have a plan of what you want to get out of this place, then it can be done. Limit your spending to essentials (eemmm like a Fireblade with tasty extras, ahem, cough cough) and you can save quite a bit to pay off your mortgage, get yourself setup with buying a house for cash or whatever.
Once you observe a few local laws with regards to conduct and keep your nose clean you should be fine but make no mistake, you screw up out here or p!ss off the wrong local, you will beon a plane home or worse, things are done differently out here!!!
So on the whole, while Dubai (UAE) is probably about 10-15 years ahead of Doha (Qatar) in terms of advancement, they are about as similar as it gets. Both countries are not that restrictive like for example Saudia. We have more or less total freedom here, can do most of what you do at home in terms of sport, socializing, shopping, drinking even (but it is restricted to 5 star hotel bars which are expensive), working, travel, etc……………………just be prepared for everything to be different and operate differently. Depending on what company or job you will be doing, you will probably be working with lots of expats which keeps things kinda normal.
Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions or post up here.
PS it’s 20 deg C here now which is lovely, will be doing a trackday this wend on the MotoGP Lusail Circuit but come summer it is unbearably hot, 50 deg C and 90% humidity,we don’t go outside except to get into an air conditioned car to go somewhere else air conditioned.