About Qatar

International Professional Medical Recruitment for and to the Middle East

Qatar, the official State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر‎ Dawlat Qatar), is located in Western Asia, situated on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Qatar is a high-income economy, backed by the world's third-largest natural-gas reserves and oil reserves. Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is widely regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development.

Facts About Qatar

The working week in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday (the holy day of Muslims) and usually Saturday being days off. Government ministries working hours are form 7am – 2pm, Sunday to Thursday.

Shop times vary but generally from 8:30 – 12:30 and 4pm – 9pm, although shopping malls tend to be open all day between the hours of 9am to 11pm. Some shops do not open at all on a Friday, while others open for a couple of hours in the morning and reopen in the late afternoon. Most malls now open on Fridays at 1:30pm, with shopping centres opening at 4pm.

  • The country has a moderate desert climate with very hot summers and mild winters. Winter nights can be cool, but temperatures rarely drops below 7˚ Celcius.
  • Humidity levels can be extremely high on the coast during summer months.
  • Rainfall is scarce (average 70mm per year), falling on isolated days mainly between October – March.

Please dress modestly when out in public:

  • As a show of respect towards the culture and tradition of Qatar, visitors and expatriates (both men and women) should dress conservatively. Avoid exposing the knees, shoulders, cleavage and stomach.
  • Likewise, avoid tight, revealing clothing. Although there are many people who show disregard for the dress code, it is in your best interest to avoid any unwelcome attention. Be particularly modest during the holy month of Ramadan. Normal swimwear (including bikini’s) is acceptable on the beach or by the pool, but cover up when you move away from these areas. Topless bathing is prohibited. Public display of affection between men and women are discouraged and behaviour that is considered immoral could result in prosecution.

There are many photographic opportunities in Qatar, but exercise discretion when photographing local residents, even from a distance. It is wise to ask their permission first. Muslim ladies are very modest, so if you are a man, kindly approach another man when asking for direction of advice.

There are stiff fines for consuming alcohol other than on licensed premises or at home (you must have a liquor permit to buy alcohol for use at home). Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence, and could lead to prosecution if a traffic officer even smells alcohol on your breath and you have been involved in a car accident. Alcohol is never sold of served during the monthof Ramadan. The country applies a Zero tolerance attitude to drugs.

The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 Dirhams. The exchange parity has been stet at the fixed rate of US$1 = QR3.64.

  • Figures released by the Qatar Statistics Authority in April 2011 put Qatar’s population at almost 1.7 million, of which approximately 24% are female.
  • Almost 50% of the population resides in the city of Doha, which is the business and administration capital.
  • Qatar, with proven gas reserves of over 900 trillion standard cubic feet in its North Field, and oil reserves of over 15,2 billion barrels, has one of the fastest growing economies and highest per capita income in the world.
  • In just decades, Qatar has developed into a major global supplier of energy and is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a world leader in gas-to-liquids (GTL) production. In December 2010, the North Field Development Project celebrated meeting its production target of 77 million tons of LNG.
  • While developing its huge hydrocarbon reserves, Qatar has also diversified its economy, and emphasis is being placed on private-sector industrial development, education, health, sport and tourism.
  • Investment laws allow for up to 100% foreign investment in many sectors including: agriculture, industry, leisure, tourism, health, education and the exploitation of natural resources, energy or mining – subject to dispensation from the Ministry of Business and Trade.
  • Qatar is a peninsula of 11,521 sq km located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Golf.
  • Capital City – Doha.
  • The territory encompasses several islands including Halul, Sheraouh, Al Beshairiya, Al Safliya (which is a marine protected area) and Al Aaliya.
  • The coastline covers 563km with shallow coastal waters in most areas and many covers and inlets.
  • The terrain is flat and rocky, covered with sand flats and sand dunes. There are some exceptional low-rising limestone outcrops in the north and northwest.
  • The country is centrally placed among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which groups it with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
  • The official language of the country is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood.
  • All official documents (such as visa and resident permit applications) must be completed in Arabic.
  • Islam is the official religion of the country, and Shari’a (Islamic Law) is the principal source of legislation.

Qatar local time is three hours ahead of GMT, also knows as Universal Coordinated Time. It is fixed across the country and there is no summer time saving.

  • The country is served by Doha International Airport.
  • Metered taxis and limousines are easy to find and there is a comprehensive public transport system.
  • Qatar has a modern road system linking it with other GCC countries. A "Friendship Bridge" linking Qatar to Bahrain is under negotiation.
  • An integrated rail and metro network is in operation.
  • A good telecommunication system is in place, with plans to upgrade to an entirely fibre-optic network.

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  • Use greetings and formalities as they are particularly important when dealing with Arabs. It is considered impolite to start any conversation or request without at least saying "Good Morning”. Make an effort to learn the ways, traditions, customs and religion of your host country.
  • Dress modestly in Qatar, which is a Muslim country with conservative dress codes. Loose trousers are acceptable for women, but avoid shorts and short skirts, strappy low-cut tops, see-through and transparent clothes.
  • Hail Karwa turquoise taxis, which is safe, clean and metered. The majority of the drivers speak English. When ordering a taxi by phone do so well in advance as delays can occur.
  • Bargain with shopkeers which is the norm here in the souqs. Always counter the original offer with a lower price than you expect to pay and work slowly upwards to what you wish to spend.
  • Watch out for separate counters and sections for women in banks and utilities.
  • Enjoy Qatar at night as it is one of the safest places in the world and during the hot summer and Ramadan you will see people around town well into the early mornings.
  • Drink plenty of water in addition to other beverages. As temperatures reach over 40˚C you need at least two litres a day.
  • Use a high-factor sunblock on all exposed skin year round. Don’t forget the tops of your feet if wearing sandals. Children and fair-skinned people also need a hat or cap.
  • Remember the air-conditioning which can chill you at restaurants, cinemas and malls. Take along a light jacket or sweater as a precaution.

Do Not

  • Look or stare at people closely no matter how fascinating their dress. This general courtesy is particularly important in a society where modesty in dress and behaviour is mandatory.
  • Ask an Arab lady for information or directions if you are a man. Respect the fact some Arab ladies are private people in public places. They are more then willing to help other females, so if you are family let your wife do the talking!
  • Be offended if your handshake is refused by a Muslim. Handshakes are most often refused to members of the opposite sex. It is not meant personally, but simply a religious prohibition applicable to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
  • Take a photograph without permission of either people (including police and armed forces) or sensitive sites. Arab women and many older people strongly object to being photographed.
  • Be annoyed if your guest / contact is late – just remember time is more elastic in Qatar.
  • Use your left hand for eating with your fingers with Muslims. The right hand is considered more appropriate as the left hand is reserved for personal hygiene.
  • Sit with the soles of your shoes or feet pointing out to your Qatari hosts; it is considered insulting. Equally, don’t sit with your back to your guests.
  • Drink too much alcohol so that your behaviour is affected in public. Alcohol in Qatar is a strictly regulated concession and there is a zero tolerance for drunk-driving, drunkenness or rowdy behaviour.
  • Go barefoot in the sea where stonefish (which looks like stones)lie along the shoreline. Although rare, the poisonous defence mechanism causes excruciating pain and needs a hospital visit. Also be on the lookout for jellyfish, particularly in the summer months.