Oh, ok :-) Well, you should definitely talk to the HR department or the company's PRO and see what they can do to expedite everyone's resident permits and see if they can get the 3 month salary/bank account rule waived - because that could become an issue - that, and available school places (at a good school). Maybe your new company is a sponsor of a certain school or schools - you should find that out. That would make your life a lot easier :-) And I'm sure you know that the school year starts in September and not December/January here.
Good luck with everything!
I'm not sure if you're coming here with your husband or if you're coming for your job. But if it's your husband who will be working here, I think it would be easiest if he came first, sorted out all the RP issues (at least 3 months of pay deposits in a Qatari bank account, getting all of your documents together - birth certificates authenticated, marriage licence authenticated, diploma authenticated, etc.), then you and the kids followed. This is because if all of your documentation isn't sorted out before you come here, you won't be able to get a resident permit for you or your children. And if your children don't have an RP, unfortunately, they can't start school.
This whole paperwork procedure could take months as well. So, it might be best if you and the kids stayed in New Zealand until August, then join your husband, get your RPs and have all the kids start school together in September 2016.
Good luck with everything!
thank you so much for the link, but the article in Doha News does not say a word about Indians working in Qatar on a domestic visa.
So, when you post something like this: "It's not because of the Indian embassy - it's because Indian's don't qualify for domestic visas!" - it seemed like you're saying that Qatar isn't willing to grant Indians visas for domestic employment. Qatar is willing to, but India wants it's citizens to be protected, to have a decent wage, to have time off... all of the same rights that other countries want for their unskilled/domestic labor force.
Quote from the article you are referring to:
"Nepal only lifted a ban on its nationals working as housemaids in Qatar last year, after the government agreed that certain terms and conditions being met, including a guaranteed month off after a year’s work, life insurance coverage and the opening of a bank account in the maid’s name.
Also last year, Nepal set an age bar for women seeking work in Gulf countries, citing widespread reports of sexual and psychological abuse. Nepalese women under 30 are no longer allowed to work in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
And in January, Indonesia temporarily suspended recruitment of domestic workers to Qatar, saying it could not afford to help the increasing number of runaway maids seeking shelter at its embassy."
These are the same issues India has with allowing it's unskilled/domestic workforce to work in Qatar, hence, Indian women under 30 wishing to work in Qatar as a domestic worker require specific approval of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
Have you tried contacting the Indian Embassy either in the UAE or in Doha?
I think the reason you're hearing that Indian domestic helpers cannot come to Doha is because the Indian government may have put a ban on domestic workers coming to Qatar due to allegations of wide spread abuse of Indian domestic workers here.
Anyhow, try contacting the Indian Embassies in Qatar and UAE and see what they have to say.
Congratulations on your move :-)
Before you start looking for places to live, you should definitely secure a place in school for your girls. I would start contacting schools now and filling out applications. I don't know if you've read through the web site, but finding a good school and securing a spot is so, so difficult here. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you might have to wait until next September to have them start - it might take that long, unfortunately. Although, if your husband works for a company that has reserved seats at a school or is a sponsor, you might find a place faster. Definitely have your husband ask his HR department about what his company does for school sponsorship.
Also, getting your residency permits (for you and the kids) might take a bit of time. Usually it takes about 3 months from when your husband starts working (he'll need a Qatari bank account with at least 3 months of salary deposits) to when he can officially sponsor you to get your resident permits. And, unfortunately, schools will tell you that they need the kids' resident permits before they can start school. So, that's another potential delay you will need to be aware of before you arrive.
It might make sense for your husband to come first, get settled, start the resident permit process - while you work on getting school places sorted out. And when your kids have a school spot (and a start date) and you have all the paperwork for your resident permits, then come here, get the RPs sorted out and then have your girls' start school. Finding a compound (close to school) after you have a school spot is a good strategy because the traffic here can be quite heavy.
Good luck with everything!
You can apply to schools without an RP for your son, but for him to start, he will have to have his RP in place. You *may* be able to have him start with a 'family RP', but I think most schools are cracking down on this and requiring the children to have their own RP before starting. If you're in the process of getting the final RP, the school should hold your child's place until he has his own.
I think you should also be able to find a tutor for your son if you have to home school for a while. There are some homeschooling web sites here -- I don't know what they are - but if you do a search on this forum, maybe the topic has come up.
Beverly Hills Garden #1 is a very nice compound. The villas are a bit dated, but most have a nice back garden area, which is hard to find in Doha. The grounds are nicely kept and there's a lot of "green" (trees, grass, bushes, etc.). There's a nice playground and the pool area is also nice. I don't live there, but have friends that do, and it's nice.
When we were searching for houses, we also looked at other 'Beverly Hills' compounds and BH #1 is by far the nicest.
About the driving part... depending where you come from, it's quite easy to transfer your drivers licence to a Qatari one. If you're coming from the States, you will have to take a driving test, but it's not hard. You can also drive for a while on an international drivers permit. I don't know much about taking taxis or hiring a driver. Personally, I would think it's a pain :-)
I think your children should be fine with a different curriculum. There will be some differences, but they will adjust.
We had a bad impression of ACS. Disorganized and unprofessional. Coupled with their lease issues, I wouldn't want to send my kids there.
Compass International School seems to be ok. But I think they have a waitlist as well... for both campuses.
One thing to think about... I don't know if the Air Force helps with your residence permits and RPs for the kids, or if you're exempt in some way because you're with the military... but the kids will have to have their residence permit in place before they can start school :-( You might want to check with whomever is coordinating your move to see how that is going to work.
I also feel the same way about home schooling. I can totally relate to you not really wanting to do it. One thing to consider is, maybe staying behind until your kids get a place at school. I know it's not ideal, but maybe it's easier? Have you given GEMS a call? I think it's probably the best school at this point that might still have available spots for your kids...
Wow, what an awful position you are in. I'm sorry :-(
Maybe you can give the above law firms a call and they can advise you on what to do. One of their specialties is labor law and contract disputes.
Who is the director of HR at this company? Is it a Qatari company or an international company?
I hope you can get this situation resolved.
I agree with everything JillMV has written.
I've been to the GEMS American Academy, and it's quite nice. I think parents are generally happy sending their kids there. They just got a new Principal and there's a lot of enthusiasm there. Does the USAF hold seats at any school for their transfers? ASD is very very hard to get into. My kids go there, it's a great school, but it took about 1.5 years on a wait list to get them there.
I wouldn't bother with ACS.
From what I've heard, GEMS will have bus service from certain pick up points around Doha, so driving all the way out to Al Wakra, won't be necessary.
Unfortunately, most schools have uniforms here. I think ASD is one of the only ones who doesn't require students to wear one. There's a lot of British influence here.. and they like their school uniforms! But it can be quite handy, I think. No worries about what to wear to school in the mornings!
At this point in time, it could be difficult to find a school that still has spaces for September. GEMS might have some left and there's another school -- the Qatar Finland International School - which might still have places. You can home school, but being new to the country for both you and your children, school is a good way to meet people - and friends for your kids.
It is indeed a daunting experience - filling out school applications, getting all the necessary paperwork and documents together, etc. Good luck with everything!
"I would also suggest that negativity breeds negativity. I know of some people who are miserable, and they hang out with people who are also miserable, and while they are together all they do is gripe and complain. It's almost like they are engaged in a secret contest of "who can have the worst day/experience."
YES, by all means avoid these people! Keep an open mind and remember that your experience in Doha is what you make of it :)
Yes, we brought our dogs on the same flight as we were on, as 'extra baggage' (and they are big dogs). It was cheaper this way and we were able to pick them up at the same time as our luggage :-) They were very very happy to see us! We came from Europe, so not as far away as you, but still over a 6 hour flight. They did great.
Also, before we came, I was concerned about vets in Doha and where we could board our dogs when we went on holiday, etc. There are some very good vets and very good kennels here. So, you don't really have to worry too much about that.
You will be fine... there are a lot of new people moving here all the time. It's easy to make friends. Once you're done dealing with the government '****' -- resident permits, etc. -- and you settle in, you will find there are lots of people who want to meet up for coffee and explore the area. You'll meet other moms through school and you'll be busy :-) You should try to find housing close to DESS for the time being. That's one of the bad things about Doha -- the traffic is really bad. It's a city under construction and the traffic situation during rush hours is awful. The last thing you need is to be in the car for hours every day doing the drop off and pick up.
Wow, I wonder if some people on this forum remember the first time they moved abroad or the early days before getting to Doha and how overwhelming everything seemed...
So, Sallyalice, to answer your questions without sarcasm...
Life in Doha is okay. I think it can be anything you like it to be. Living in a compound is like living in a big neighborhood. It's great if you have kids. It's a good way to meet people. Usually compounds have pools, gyms, playgrounds, little convenience shops, etc.. kids are outside riding their bikes and playing. You will probably meet other parents with kids at the same school in your compound, so it's possible to find a carpool situation, etc. Most compounds allow dogs and usually there are lots of dogs around which expats have brought with them or adopted here. Qatar allows you to import 2 dogs, but does have breed restrictions. Qatar Vet Center is a great resource if you are bringing your dog(s). They will help you with the permits you need and vaccination requirements and the general paper work. They will even meet you at the airport and pick you up in a van that fits the travel kennel and drop you off at your door! They are great, we used them for our dogs and I highly recommend them.
I can't comment on DESS, my children go to a different school. But I think DESS is one of the preferred British Schools here. I've heard good things about them.
Qatar is a safe country. It's very very hot for part of the year, but very mild and nice for the other part. It's a pretty "modern" middle eastern country. You can find most everything you can find at home -- food and clothing/wise. Women don't have to 'cover up', but modest dress (covering your shoulders and not wearing too short shorts or skirts) is appreciated.
Well, I hope that helps a bit.
Good luck with everything!
I don't know if this helps or not... I don't know the salary level of a senior architect here in Doha, but if you do accept an offer here in Doha (or really anywhere else), you should keep the following in mind -- especially if you are being offered a 'contract' position, and not a salaried permanent position with a company.
1. make sure you work into your contract that you want the employer to adjust your housing allowance every year or 2. Rents go up and you don't want to get into a situation where your rent is going up and you have to move or end up paying the increase yourself.
2. If you have children or are going to have children, you would like your employer to pay for the school fees, period - whatever they are, wherever they go. School fees vary from school to school, admission fees vary and school fees can also increase. It will greatly improve your piece of mind if your employer just covers the fees wherever you send your kids to school and you don't have to worry about budgeting your own money to cover them. Also work into the contract that you'd like fees covered for all of your children (even ones you don't have yet).
3. You would like your employer to conduct a salary review yearly and based on good performance, a salary increase. Cost of living increases year by year, and of course you would like to be compensated fairly for the work you are doing and be rewarded for a job well done.
4. Transportation covered by the company -- if you can get it, it's nice to have. So you don't have to worry about buying a car or leasing a car.
Remember, it's tough to just switch jobs here if you're not happy. Your company basically 'owns' you. Try to hold out for the best possible contract you can get. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate... if they want you badly enough, they will negotiate with you and if the contract is not what you want, don't accept it. Don't be 'lured' by the cash they offer - it goes quickly, as the cost of living here is high. The reason you're probably coming to Qatar is not the beautiful beaches and the "lifestyle", it's probably to save money for the future... but if you're stuck with a bad contract, saving money becomes that much harder.
The Pearl is nice, but if you send your kids to ASD, it does not make sense to live there.
Also, there's not much for your kids to do at the Pearl. It's an ideal place for childless adults... all of their friends and after school activities will be near school. Don't torture yourselves by living far away from where your kids will go to school.
I think Beverly Hills Garden 1 is very nice, Al Fardan Gardens 5 is also nice (it's a bit further out) and Y Village is nice (it's by Al Fardan Gardens), but there are others closer to Beverly Hills Garden 1 that are also nice, I just can't remember the names of them right now. You can also go to Propertyfinder.qa and run a search and start calling some of the other compounds or real estate agencies, if you want to go that route...
I think you probably just want to just settle and find a place close to DC's Al Waab campus, if eventually both of your kids will end up there. I would think that DC has bus stops around Doha, so your son could take a bus to and from school, in the meantime. Will anyone in your family be commuting to West Bay for work? It's possible you could drop him off in the morning and he could take a bus home... it's also possible you'll find other families in your compound or at school who you can carpool with.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check out 'tank fans'.
For the showering part, I think we're ok... we did shut off our 'hot water', so if we're taking a shower, we can turn on the hot water faucet and warmish water comes out.. so that's ok. I'm more concerned about the laundry. I have a lot of things I usually wash in cold water and with the water being so warm, I'm worried about dark wash fading and shrinkage. Do you think with the washing machine, if I wash clothes on the hotter temp settings, then the 'warmish' water from the hot water tank will be used?
Yes, they can wear shorts anywhere. It won't be a problem. I suppose if you go to an upscale restaurant with a dress code, it might be a problem. But you can always call ahead and find out the dress code. Remember, we're in the Middle East - men/boys can wear what they like - women on the other hand... ;)
You should get in touch with Qatar Vet Center. They can help you with all of the documents you will need for relocating your dog to Doha. They are a great resource if you have any questions and/or issues with relocating your dog.
You can also take your dog as 'extra baggage' and check him/her in when you check in yourselves. It's much easier and cheaper to do it that way and you don't have to go through a pet relocation company.
Before you go through the headache of attesting everything, check with GEMS or any school you've applied to as to whether it's needed. The SEC has recently changed it's directives to make it a bit easier for children to attend school in Qatar and I think that attestation of school report cards/tests/etc. is no longer needed.
Were your kids wait-listed anywhere? I think a lot of schools are going through the applications now and awarding spots... it's possible that as some parents accept spots for their kids, new spots will open, kids will move around to different schools, etc. If your child (or children) are on wait lists, they may still get a spot for September. If you have your heart set on moving to Qatar with your husband, you might just want to snag that GEMS spot and keep your child or children on the other schools' wait lists and move them to a closer school later on.
You husband can certainly set up appointments to meet with the admissions of different schools (the ones you applied to) and see if he can push a bit.. but I think by the beginning of May most schools have their September classes decided.
Good luck. You certainly aren't the only family to experience this awful process.
If you live on a compound, usually there is a gym and you can wear what you want. However, it will be mixed male/female, so if you feel comfortable wearing a 'singlet' and don't mind maybe some extra attention from grounds workers or even other men from parts of the world where women dress more conservatively, then you can wear what you want. But, it's totally normal to see women in compound gyms in shorts and a tank-like top, working out. If you join a gym, some will have 'ladies time' (there are also women's only gyms) and you can wear what you want without worrying about unwanted attention.
If you're moving to Doha in June, then I don't think you will be running/exercising outdoors for quite a while. It's extremely hot, humid and unhealthy to do anything active outdoors. Even for highly trained athletes.
The SEC is easing/changing some of the rules for the 2015 school year. Here's a link to the article in Doha News. http://dohanews.co/qatar-education-council-to-relax-enrollment-rules-for-private-schools/
The good news is that it seems the SEC (Supreme Education Council) is leaving it up to schools and parents as to which year their child/children should transition into if they're coming from outside Qatar.
For that age, they will meet with a councelor and she or he will take them (privately) and have them read, answer questions, have them write and do some math at the grade/group they are currently in. If your kids are attending an American school or an international school and their first language is English, they should do fine on the reading and writing part. If they are at grade/group level in math, they should do fine as well. But if they have any learning difficulties, they might have a problem.
The school is looking for 'red flags'. I don't know if your (or your husband's employer) is a sponsor of ASD, but if they are, then you have a very good chance of getting a place for your kids in September. If they aren't, then you should plan to have your children on a wait list for the 2015-16 school year.
The assessment isn't something your kids can 'study' for. Don't make them nervous about it.
I was also going to suggest boarding school or living with a relative either in Australia or England (seeing as your husband is British). But it would be hard leaving your child behind, I think.
That being said, the American School of Doha (not the GEMS American Academy!) and Doha College are very good schools. Act quickly on those applications and you might get lucky for September.
I think you should look into Doha College and the American School of Doha. But to be honest, you need to act very quickly at this point, filling out applications and getting all of your documents together for the application. With just one child at the age of 16, you might be lucky and get a place for her in September. I'm sure you've read what a nightmare it is with school spaces in Doha, so the sooner you can start this process, the better. With your daughter being 16, I wouldn't settle for just any school. This means you might be separated from your husband (or the other way around, depending on who is being relocated for their job), until a school place opens up. To be honest, she could be on a wait list for over a year :-( But like I said, there might be more spaces in the upper years and you could get lucky.
As for places to live, most people wait to see where their kids get a spot at school and then find a house close by. But, like everything in Doha, there are wait lists for the best compounds as well. But if you do apply to the American School of Doha and Doha College, they are located close to each other in the Al Waab area.
Good luck with everything.
If your children are currently doing well in school (at grade level), have no learning issues and are going to school where the instruction is in English or are native English speakers, they shouldn't have a problem with the assessments. I think the assessments are given more to find 'red flags' and weed out the children whom they feel will have a problem with an English speaking/teaching curriculum. Unfortunately, most schools don't have programs for special needs or learning disabled children.
Good luck with everything.
Our experience at ACS:
1. Very disorganized
2. We were asked to come for an assessment with our son (native English speaker). Firstly, he was assessed for learning disabilities, which he didn't have. Next, he was given an assessment, but their computer system "was down".. so he took the 'learning disabilities' test again. They told us he scored at a 3rd grade level for reading, but at a 9th grade level for spelling -- how is that possible? Our son was also asked for an assessment at the ASD (American School Doha) and scored very well. So something was not right with ACS's assessments and process.
3. When we got our 'tour of the school', we were taken around by a member of ACS's staff. We were told that the science department didn't have bunsen burners, that the school was a 'second tier' school -- that parents accept a spot there for their kids, but also put them on wait lists of other, better schools in Doha and move them once there is a place in another, better school.
4. We were repeatedly told by this staff member that the 'school was full to capacity' and that there wasn't even a lunch room where the kids could eat lunch. We actually saw this on our tour.
So, in the end, even though our kids were accepted and put on the wait list at ACS, we declined and waited for our first choice of school. I have read other posts on this forum by parents who are happy with ACS. This was just our experience,and it was a bad one. Maybe there are other parents with kids currently there who can give their opinions as well.
Pokemon23 - I think we all know, as parents, the extreme frustration and stress we all felt when applying to schools here in Doha. My family has moved all over the world and we have never encountered wait lists like we've seen in Doha. It's an incredibly frustrating and stressful experience for everyone. All I was trying to say is you are in a very fortunate situation where your child is either at Doha College or ASD - two of the top schools in Doha. You can't get much better. So, if you have your child enrolled at one and on a wait list at another, you are indeed keeping another child (who might not even be in Doha yet) out of school.
I don't know what the solution is. I realize many parents come here, take the first spot they get at a school, and hope they can move their child at some point later. Maybe schools need to get tougher with these parents - if your child is attending another school, then they're taken off the wait list and you can reapply or 'reactivate' your application the following school year. I don't know. All I know is that the wait lists are a serious problem - something that needs to be addressed. Good luck with your decision.
If your child is happy at his/her current school and to be quite honest, both ASD and Doha College are very good schools, you should keep them at their current school. Why uproot your child? The wait lists for both schools are very long and keeping your child's place on the wait list while you and your child are happy with your current school situation/choice, is only delaying other childrens chances of getting a place at school.
<em>edited by tulip327 on 13/10/2014</em>
Most compounds allow dogs, so you shouldn't have a problem there. Qatar does ban certain breeds of dogs allowed in the country, so you should check that out first to make sure your dog's breed isn't on there. I'm not familiar with the specific Al Rayaan Oasis compound, but the real estate property management company AMLAK manages it. Their phone number is: Tel : +974 4470 7183.. their web site is: http://www.amlak.com.qa/en/what-we-do/residential -- so you can call them directly to ask if they allow dogs.
The following dogs are banned from being imported into Qatar:
American Staffordshire Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
<em>edited by tulip327 on 06/10/2014</em>