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Thread: Anyone working in the middle east before? looking for experiences/info

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone working in the middle east before? looking for experiences/info

    Hi all,

    Lately I've been considering (slightly) moving to the middle east, specifically Saudi Arabia but was really looking for experiences from people who have lived in and around that region (UAE, oman, etc). I had some questions surrounding the process

    -Did you find the job yourself or did you use some sort of agency?
    -Is it simple enough to get a visa for your spouse?
    -Overall is it safe? (my gf is citing concerns for safety)
    -Do you live in a compound or is it safe enough to just shop around and go off on your own?
    -How do the taxs work? As I understand there is no tax on SA, do you still pay the full amount back to canada?
    -And the most obvious..was the extra money worth the whole process?


    Thanks guys, any firsthand experiences would be great to hear.
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    Default

    Not much to add, but just a few things as a former ex-pat brat. I grew up in Saudi.

    Life on the compound was good, essentailly it was the freedoms of the USA on the grounds (within the laws of the country).

    Always felt safe. Armed guards everywhere. When you left the compound, some places are sketchy of course.


    Other than that, the money was good (so I hear)

    (Reference song - Arab Money)

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    chkolny541 - I'll try to address some of your questions. I was in Iraq, and frequently traveled to the UAE. I also have several colleagues who worked in Saudi Arabia and a few who currently work there now.

    -Did you find the job yourself or did you use some sort of agency? Generally speaking, it depends on the type of work. Saudi Aramco has it's own recruitment firm based out of Houston which does the N.American recruitment. Smaller companies will engage head-hunters or employment agencies
    -Is it simple enough to get a visa for your spouse? Must be married to get visa for your significant other, generally the hiring company will apply for the spousal visa
    -Overall is it safe? (my gf is citing concerns for safety) On the compound(s), it's generally safe (pending region)... off compound is a different story
    -Do you live in a compound or is it safe enough to just shop around and go off on your own? Do some background research on the city/town which you're considering, then see what expat compounds are available. Depending on which country it may/may not be safe. In Iraq, we couldn't go anywhere without security/body guards with us at all times, there was also a curfew that was followed.
    -How do the taxs work? As I understand there is no tax on SA, do you still pay the full amount back to canada? To be applicable for no taxes in Canada, you must be a non-resident. Otherwise, you'll have to pay Canadian taxes. The Overseas Employment Tax Credit has been phased out. Be fully aware after you get your employment offer and visa should you go down this route (in case something happens in between). You'll need to revoke your AB healthcare, notify your bank that you'll be a non-resident. You can keep your RRSP, TFSA, bank accounts etc in Canada, but go down to one credit card. Pending the country you go to, you may have to give up your ABDL as well. Make sure you're not in Canada more than 182 days each year, otherwise there are tax implications. You can rent your house out if you own it (using a property mgmt company)
    -And the most obvious..was the extra money worth the whole process? If your GF has employment in Canada, then you need to factor in her after-tax salary to determine if what you're making overseas is worthwhile. Generally speaking, it would be more for the experience. Pending the country you go to, you may/may not enjoy that particular country. Lots of what you take for granted in Canada is either a luxury or non-existent. To live a similar lifestyle in UAE/Oman/Qatar/Bahrain, it is expensive

    Hope that helps!

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    Default Re: Anyone working in the middle east before? looking for experiences/info

    Originally posted by chkolny541
    Hi all,

    Lately I've been considering (slightly) moving to the middle east, specifically Saudi Arabia but was really looking for experiences from people who have lived in and around that region (UAE, oman, etc). I had some questions surrounding the process

    -Did you find the job yourself or did you use some sort of agency?
    -Is it simple enough to get a visa for your spouse?
    -Overall is it safe? (my gf is citing concerns for safety)
    -Do you live in a compound or is it safe enough to just shop around and go off on your own?
    -How do the taxs work? As I understand there is no tax on SA, do you still pay the full amount back to canada?
    -And the most obvious..was the extra money worth the whole process?


    Thanks guys, any firsthand experiences would be great to hear.
    Aramco does its hiring out of Houston. In my experience OG companies do their own hiring, media/ construction hire an agency.
    Spouse (wife) is simple. Not sure about gf, probably more hassle for Saudi, rest shouldn't be that hard I'd think.
    Very safe on compound. Everywhere else is fairly safe as well, unless you end up strolling to a slum (highly unlikely) and what you'll get is stares/ higher risk of mugging. Iraq (an active war zone) is a different story.
    - Declare yourself a non-resident. Put your place as rental property. Hire an accountant and lawyer to draft paperwork confirming all.
    - If you're comfortable staying in a position for several years, no issues. If you're someone who is always driven, keen on climbing the ladder etc. then you have some accommodating to do. Most companies offer you great vacation and couple of flights back. Couple of my friends that are there do complain about work culture/politics (they did that here too) and keep saying "only one more year" - but we all know money is a strong motivator so I'm sure they'll stay.

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