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Doha ScoreCard

Movehub Rating: 91

health care
68
purchase power
82
quality of life
cost of living
56
crime rate
27
Hover over the charts to see how the score is calculated.

Moving to Doha from the UK

Source: Flickr | Francisco Anzola

Moving to Doha from the UK throws up several issues that need careful consideration.

Firstly, can you hack the desert climate? Doha, though somewhat cooled by the sea, is hot and arid. Summer temperatures frequently exceed 40 °C and there is almost no rainfall. Great news for anyone looking to escape the effects of SAD but not suitable for every complexion or disposition.

Secondly, Arabic culture is very different to British culture. Qatar operates under Sharia law which means the sale of alcohol is strictly controlled (by permit only) and that living together as an unmarried couple is illegal. Western dress is fine, though most would rather err on the side of modesty rather than cause offence.

Source: Flickr | Lubaib Gazir

Thirdly, while employment opportunities for skilled Brits are plentiful it’s not recommended to try to move to Doha without a job lined up. Work visas must be sponsored by a Qatari national - usually an employer.

If you’re a fan of hot weather, enjoy the cultural differences and have been offered work in Doha then it could be the perfect place to relocate. Remember: there’s a large UK expat community already firmly ensconced in the city who’ll be more than happy to show you the ropes.


Comparing Doha vs London

A move from London to Doha will, in general, see you with a lot more cash to splash around. Not only is rent lower in the Qatari capital but consumer goods, groceries and meals out are also significantly cheaper. You’ll pay a premium for alcohol, which can only be purchased at large international hotels or from specialist retailers.

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Healthcare in Doha is easily on a par with what you’ll find in London, there’s less crime and you’ll probably spend less time commuting. The underdevelopment of public transport in comparison to London though, and the dominance of the car in Doha, makes air quality a problem.

Source: Flickr | Sam Agnew

Like London, Doha sits atop multiple layers of human history. Though much of it is obscured by the rapidly expanding construction work, those prepared to look will find much to write home about. The Museum of Islamic Art is a great place to explore the architecture, calligraphy, textiles and ceramics of the Gulf region. The Islamic Cultural Centre, including the Grand Mosque, can also shed much light on Qatari faith and customs. Katara Cultural Village features a huge open air amphitheatre and plays host to many concerts and exhibitions including ones by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival.



Schools and Education in Doha

In an effort to diversify its economy away from overdependence on oil and gas revenues, Qatar is looking to build a knowledge economy - headquartered in Doha. This has led to huge investment in education, both in state institutions and in attracting foreign schools and higher education establishments.

Prestigious private international schools include the American School of Doha, a co-educational school which teaches under the American School System and charges tuition fees of up to QAR 70,194 (£1,263) per annum; the four Newton International schools, affiliated with Cambridge University, which teach up to year 11 and charge fees of up to QAR 32,000 (£5,760) per annum; the Al Jazeera Academy, which offers the International Baccalaureate and charges up to QAR 42,000 (£7,560) per annum in tuition fees.

Source: Flickr | Sebastian Wilke

Qatar University is the only government university and offers the widest range of academic subjects. 35% of the student body are children of expats.

Education City, on the western outskirts of Doha, houses satellite campuses of University College London, Cornell Medical College, Georgetown University and HEC Paris among others.


Property in Doha

In 2004 Qatar started allowing freehold property purchases by foreigners for the first time, granting permanent residency visas to anyone buying a home. This led to a property price surge in Doha which lasted until 2009 when the effects of the global financial crisis were felt and prices dropped sharply. Property prices now seem to have stabilised once more, with some even reporting increases in 2012.

A fully furnished 3 bedroom apartment in the newly built Zig Zag Towers in the West Bay resort, a 20 minute drive from the city centre, will cost around QAR 2,200,000 (£396,000).

A three bedroom townhouse on The Pearl resort with a balcony and shared use of a communal pool, currently costs around QAR 4,500,000 (£810,000).

Source: Flickr | A♥

Villas - both stand-alone and those in compounds - are highly sought after and generally don’t pop up for sale. They are usually owned by locals who rent them out to foreign workers. The majority of expats in Doha therefore rent their accommodation.

You can rent a large, fully furnished 3 bedroom villa in Al Waab for QAR 20,000 (£3,600) per month or an apartment in the same area for around QAR 12,000 (£2,160).


Neighbourhood Picks

  • Family Friendly: Al Waab, 10km to the southwest of the harbour, is close to Villagio Mall and the large Aspire Park. It also has some good schools.
  • Hip and Trendy: Al Saadis central and busy with plenty of cafes, juice bars and shops.
  • Upmarket: The man made marina of The Pearl is the site of the most lavish new villas and a Gordon Ramsey restaurant.
  • Up and Coming: Madinat Khalifa, to the northwest of the harbour, with several international schools, is becoming increasingly popular with expat families.


Schools and Education in Doha

In an effort to diversify its economy away from overdependence on oil and gas revenues, Qatar is looking to build a knowledge economy - headquartered in Doha. This has led to huge investment in education, both in state institutions and in attracting foreign schools and higher education establishments.

Prestigious private international schools include the American School of Doha, a co-educational school which teaches under the American School System and charges tuition fees of up to QAR 70,194 (£1,263) per annum; the four Newton International schools, affiliated with Cambridge University, which teach up to year 11 and charge fees of up to QAR 32,000 (£5,760) per annum; the Al Jazeera Academy, which offers the International Baccalaureate and charges up to QAR 42,000 (£7,560) per annum in tuition fees.

Source: Flickr | Sebastian Wilke

Qatar University is the only government university and offers the widest range of academic subjects. 35% of the student body are children of expats.

Education City, on the western outskirts of Doha, houses satellite campuses of University College London, Cornell Medical College, Georgetown University and HEC Paris among others.