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JustHere | November 15, 2017

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[SURVEY] Expat household income a third of that of Qataris, even as cost of living continues to rise

[SURVEY] Expat household income a third of that of Qataris, even as cost of living continues to rise

Expatriate households earn only a third of the average monthly income of Qatari households. From that, a good fraction was utilised in paying rent and buying food, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.

While Qatari families earned an average monthly income of QR72,700, expatriate families earned QR24,000. From the total of 3723 households surveyed, a major portion of Qatari households (42.41%) earned QR85,000 and more per month; only 0.16% earned less than QR10,500.

In contrast, majority of non-Qatari households (38.94%) earned QR10,500- QR21,000 per month; 0.86% earned QR85,000 and more.

Meanwhile, the average monthly expenditure of Qatari families was QR49,600 as compared to QR18,000 of expat families.

The below table gives the comparison of expenditure in a few popular categories:

Qatari household Expatriate household
Food QR8,033 QR2,700
Overseas travel QR5,700 QR1,648
Recreation & entertainment QR2,031 QR444.78
Tobacco, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks QR7,983 QR6,921
Body care QR2,500 QR404
Clothing QR2,800 QR621
Medical care QR1,523 QR178


The full survey results can be viewed here.

Expats struggle with inflation

Despite Qatar being a tax-free nation, expatriates are finding it difficult to save enough due to the rising cost of living.

The bulk of expenditure mainly comprises housing rents, the survey findings revealed.

While government companies provide accommodation to its employees, private companies include a housing allowance in an employee’s salary package. However, the difference between the allowance and the actual rent is a lot, according expatriates interviewed for an earlier JustHere article.

“We live in Ain Khaled Gate compound where the rent has increased 25-30% in 2014 itself. My husband and I can’t afford that because our salaries are the same, so we are currently looking for another flat,” said a Lebanese expatriate.

Some expats even resort to villa partitioning, to house more people, in order to save up on rent. According to Law No 4 for 1985, it is illegal to modify a building once the municipality has approved the designs. However, due to a with a in real estate rents, many residents continue to violate this rentals and real estate law, despite the threat of being fined QR5,000.

Medical, and other expenses

If you are a national, you are entitled to free medical care and education. Even then, Qatari households were shown to spend QR1,523 on medical care and QR1,571 on education, while expatriates spent QR178 and QR1,008 a month respectively.

However, with the National Health Insurance Scheme in operation, the medical cost will be soon taken care of. According to the scheme, all Qatari nationals will have their premiums paid by the government while non-nationals will have their premiums paid by their employers. The scheme was launched in July last year. While the first few stages covers only Qatari nationals, by 2015, all residents in Qatar (nationals, white-collar and blue–collar non-nationals and visitors) will be covered.

On the other hand, school fees continue to consume a major chunk of an expatriate’s monthly income.

While Asian schools charge fees of approximately QR10,000-15,000 per year; Western expat schools charge and average of QR30,000 and higher.

This year, the Supreme Education Council granted permission to a few private schools to increase their fees, ranging from 1.5%-4%.

[Photo courtesy: Francisco Anzola via Flickr]

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