When you’re relocating to a foreign country, you can cover expenses like rent by taking out a personal loan while you settle in, but sooner or later you need to find work to get by. Not only that, the bank will want its money back, of course — sooner rather than later. People are relocating to work in the Middle East. If you’re thinking of following the crowd, read on to find out why, as well as how you can beat some of the challenges and find work out there for yourself.
Why are people so keen to work in the Middle East?
Three words: tax-free living. Many Middle Eastern governments are somewhat generous when it comes to taxation and charge no personal income tax. Countries like Qatar, however, do charge corporation tax. This is at fairly low rates, though, and consumers pay little or no tax on items or services.
Another reason, of course, is the generally higher standard of living. Relocation packages for expats are normally generous, including a housing allowance. Sometimes they also provide you with a car or a car allowance. In some cases, they’ll even offer an education allowance for the kids.
What are the challenges facing expats there?
One of the main challenges is that the Middle Eastern countries are keen to promote employment of nationals. This makes it slightly tougher for non-nationals to enter the Middle Eastern job market.
The way to beat this is to look for jobs in the private sector. The private sector in countries like Qatar argues that the public sector has lured away all the experienced nationals with cushy employment terms and conditions. Consequently, the private sector is wide open for expat employees.
How can you find work there?
1. Research before you leave
Find out where the demand is. One of the main shortages in the Middle East is of technical expertise. The UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have embarked upon a development drive, creating a demand for project managers and construction and development professionals. In other areas, business consultants and financial experts, teachers and medical professionals are also sought after.
2. Build all the experience you can
The shortage of experienced professionals in the Middle Eastern economy means that there are plenty of opportunities to build work experience. The problem is that non-nationals from many other countries have realized this and are also relocating out there. The more experience and expertise you can offer in a particular field, the better your prospects.
3. Start the search at home
If you arrange employment before you relocate to the Middle East, you’ll do yourself a massive favor. You require a sponsor — normally, an employer — to work in the Middle East. This sponsor helps you obtain a residence permit and employment visa. You can search for work through an international recruitment agency, and they can help you with this.
4. Do things the old-fashioned way
These may be digital times, but walking into a company, with your CV in hand, and introducing yourself can be just as effective in the Middle East.
Don’t forget to network. The Middle East’s main cities attract people from many walks of life. No matter what your area of expertise is, you may well bump into someone who moves in the same circles and can offer you a career opportunity.
Working abroad is rewarding both for your career and your own personal development. However, you can’t just wander into the Middle East and walk straight into a job. You have to research, plan ahead, build up your CV and meet new people. Only then can you make the search — and your relocation — work. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together!
You can find construction & engineering jobs in the Middle East and North Africa at BuildingMENA.com