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Thread: Working in Qatar / Middle east.

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    Default Working in Qatar / Middle east.

    Has anyone here worked as an expat in Qatar or a similar middle eastern country? Any tips, tricks, or pitfalls to avoid?

    I'm strongly considering working in Qatar for a year as an alternative to being underemployed here. The company is offering a good rate (for this economy anyways), and a reasonable allowance for accommodation, transportation, etc. They're willing to pay me either personally or through my company, split my pay between local currency and euros, whatever I want basically.

    I'm hoping that staying in my specialty and gaining some experience abroad will be a better career move than taking a regular IT job here just to fill time and pay bills. I'd love to hear from anyone who has actually done this, as I've only ever lived here so it's a bit daunting to just hop on a plane to Qatar and hope for the best.

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    .
    Last edited by kaput; 03-12-2019 at 12:37 AM.

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    Yeah go talk to an expatriate tax specialist about a consultation. I would ask Compass Tax about a quote if the employer doesn't have a provider.
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    As per what kaput has mentioned, to really take advantage of working in any of the M.E countries is that it is tax free. There are specific criteria to become a non-resident. Unfortunately the OETC program is being/has been phased out.

    Cost of Living in Doha is quite expensive if you want to live a "Western" lifestyle. Be prepared to spend 20-30% more on fruits and veggies.

    Your summer clothes here in Calgary would only be good for the winters in the M.E. Be prepared to "suit-up" each day. A/C will be your best friend 9 months of the year.

    Also, employment regulations/laws are quite different to Canada. Make sure you try to have an "off-shore" account. There's been cases where folks have been laid-off and their accounts frozen (in-country). And the biggest thing is DO NOT take out a loan locally. Those folks who were laid-off, couldn't service their debt and ended up in jail.
    Last edited by JDMMAN; 08-14-2016 at 04:31 PM.

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    I think davidl the hulktit guy was working abroad, specifically in the Middle East. Unless I have him confused with another member.


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    Well since you're already considering expat life, how do you feel about taking lowball offers on your bike and z06. You'll have to sever a lot of ties to take advantage of the tax situation, including vehicle registrations.

    When you think you've got a great deal going, The CRA will be looking to ding you when you return.

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    Redditors had some comments about this:

    I live in Canada, but work in the middle east. I still have to pay normal Canadian Tax.
    There was once something called "Overseas tax credit" in which basically you only had to pay half of Canadian taxes.
    Our dear friend Harper did away with that tax credit.
    Personally fucked me out of about 45k a year


    I looked at working in the UAE many years ago while I was a jet engine mechanic, but even then the salaries werent interesting enough to warrant further investigation.

    If you go there, not for the money, but for the experience, it can be very interesting indeed. Just don't think for a second that you can be as vocal or opinionated as you might be here. Their rules and customs must be obeyed at all times. The, "when in Rome" rule applies very strongly there.

    I know some colleagues (who were with Trans Canada) who chose to (unwisely) drive while in SA. They were hit by a drunk driver, but because he was an Arab, the police threw them in jail instead.

    Also, in Dubai, people have been jailed for years for having traces of marijuana on their shoes and clothes.
    Last edited by revelations; 08-14-2016 at 08:16 PM.

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    So how does the tax thing work? You earn your salary tax free in the ME, then the CRA demands you provide pay slips or invoices when you return?

    Does it apply to the US as well? Get hit with US tax and then by the CRA upon return?
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    well unless you are not a resident of Canada for the year and there are strict rules around that.

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    Originally posted by FraserB
    So how does the tax thing work? You earn your salary tax free in the ME, then the CRA demands you provide pay slips or invoices when you return?

    Does it apply to the US as well? Get hit with US tax and then by the CRA upon return?
    Very generally speaking, you pay local taxes on the income you make, and then the difference between what you paid and what you would've paid in Canada on that income, each year.

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    Originally posted by JDMMAN
    Your summer clothes here in Calgary would only be good for the winters in the M.E. Be prepared to "suit-up" each day. A/C will be your best friend 9 months of the year.
    I'm aware (and worried) about the heat. What do you mean 'suit up', is the work environment formal there? I was thinking long sleeve button up 'sport' shirts and khaki / dress pants.


    Originally posted by JDMMAN
    Also, employment regulations/laws are quite different to Canada. Make sure you try to have an "off-shore" account. There's been cases where folks have been laid-off and their accounts frozen (in-country). And the biggest thing is DO NOT take out a loan locally. Those folks who were laid-off, couldn't service their debt and ended up in jail.
    Good tip. The company will apparently create an account for me there but I intend on keeping it with just my living expenses and keeping my main account here.

    I can't think of a legal way to take advantage of the tax free status, I intend on running the money through my business and paying taxes just as I do here. The rate is about double what I'd get nowadays here, so even with taxes not the end of the world.

    Originally posted by e31
    Well since you're already considering expat life, how do you feel about taking lowball offers on your bike and z06. You'll have to sever a lot of ties to take advantage of the tax situation, including vehicle registrations.
    I looked in to it and don't think I'm going to give up resident status. I'll just pay taxes as the law requires as I'm not going to truly sever ties to Canada. I might fire sale the Z06 and M109, keeping the MT01 forever probably.

    Originally posted by revelations

    If you go there, not for the money, but for the experience, it can be very interesting indeed. Just don't think for a second that you can be as vocal or opinionated as you might be here. Their rules and customs must be obeyed at all times. The, "when in Rome" rule applies very strongly there.

    I know some colleagues (who were with Trans Canada) who chose to (unwisely) drive while in SA. They were hit by a drunk driver, but because he was an Arab, the police threw them in jail instead.

    Also, in Dubai, people have been jailed for years for having traces of marijuana on their shoes and clothes.
    The experience is a big part of it, and I'm thinking it will be a resume builder as well. The extra pay will be nice, but by itself not worth giving up life here for a year. I intend on fully following their laws and customs, not worried about that. I'm a pretty polite, law abiding fellow and don't forsee any problems. I'll be making an extra effort to do everything by the book for sure. It looks like driving is pretty necessary in Qatar so I'll have to chance the crazy roads.

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    Originally posted by FraserB
    So how does the tax thing work? You earn your salary tax free in the ME, then the CRA demands you provide pay slips or invoices when you return?

    Does it apply to the US as well? Get hit with US tax and then by the CRA upon return?
    suntan pretty much nailed it. I'm on an LTIA in the US now and there is almost no tax benefit (no income tax in TX) for me. There is lower cost of living, lower "use" taxes etc but overall, expat gigs are really only beneficial if you can take advantage of the tax, the currency delta or gain experience you can't in Canada.

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    Originally posted by suntan
    Very generally speaking, you pay local taxes on the income you make, and then the difference between what you paid and what you would've paid in Canada on that income, each year.
    Wait.

    https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/livi...d/taxation#non
    Non-residents of Canada are required to pay taxes only on certain income from Canadian sources.
    If I become a non-resident, why do I need to pay Canadian taxes at all if the income is paid for foreign countries.

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    You're going to sell your house and dispose of all your assets first?

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    Originally posted by suntan
    You're going to sell your house and dispose of all your assets first?
    This.

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    carson blocks - Office settings are quite "formal". They don't really have business casual in the M.E. The heat will take getting used to. Qatar is extremely humid, 8-9 months of the year, you'll have your A/C going full-blast.

    For residency status, it's all about intent. If you're going overseas for a year, and running it through the company (based in Canada), there's no real way of getting any tax advantages. I guess you could potentially justify your foreign expenses against your income earned. Rents (for decent places) is generally pricey in Doha. I was there recently in April and the rents have not fallen, even with the slump in the economy. There's an area of new builds with 0 occupants over in the Pearl area.

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    Originally posted by SkiBum5.0


    suntan pretty much nailed it. I'm on an LTIA in the US now and there is almost no tax benefit (no income tax in TX) for me. There is lower cost of living, lower "use" taxes etc but overall, expat gigs are really only beneficial if you can take advantage of the tax, the currency delta or gain experience you can't in Canada.
    Does the CRA convert earnings into CAN before determining the tax burden or do they just calculate it at par?

    Say I make $100k USD and pay the state $10k in taxes. Am I taxed by the CRA on $90k or do they covert using an average exchange rate?
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    FraserB - depends if Canada has a tax treaty with the country or not. If Canada does, then taxes paid to the foreign tax agency must be proved, and any taxes paid would be counted towards your Canadian taxes.

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