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Qatar Population and Expat Nationalities

18 March 2019

Qatar, one of the smallest nations by size and area in the world, punches well on the world map because of its incredibly diverse population. Every day, thousands of job seekers and travelers from every corner of the globe flock to this Arab nation. With an aim to become the most open nation in the Gulf, Qatar’s Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, in 2017, introduced free 96-hour transit visa for all nationalities and on-arrival visa for people of 80 countries. These developments demonstrate that Qatar is committed to becoming a well-maintained sanctuary for its enormous expatriate population.

Demographics of Qatar

Official name: State of Qatar
Current population: 2,728,012
Official language: Arabic
Currencies used: Qatar Riyal
Demonym: Qatari

Situated in Western Asia, Qatar is a sovereign Arab state on the Qatar Peninsula of the Arabian Peninsula. This absolute monarchy is ruled by the AI Thani family and is known for pearl hunting, sea trade, oil trade, natural gas, and not to forget its incredible expat population. As of March 7, 2019, the population of Qatar is 2,728,012, based on the latest United Nations estimates, making it the 143rd most populous nation on the globe.

Qataris are considered a 'minority' in their own nation with only 15% of them accounting for Qatar's total population. The remaining 88% is made up of a workforce of over a hundred different nationalities. Qataris make up less than 15% of the country’s total population, followed by other 13% Arab, 24% Indian, 11% Filipino, 16% Nepali, 5% Sri Lankan and 5% Bangladesh. Filipino is the largest group of expatriates, with 250,000 Filipino in the country. Women account for merely 25% of the entire population because of a huge influx of male laborers.

Though Arabic is the official language of Qatar, English is well spoken and understood nationwide. English is considered as the second language in the country. Religiously, 67.7% of the population residing in Qatar is Muslim, followed by 13.8% Hindu, 13.8% Christians, 3.1%, Buddhist, less than .1% Jewish faiths and folk religion each, 0.7 % other faiths and 0.9% religiously unaffiliated.

qatar population

Life of expats in Qatar

Since many people from various nations and religions migrate to Qatar, living in this country is a new and noble experience. For those who are geographically closer, such as Indian and Bangladeshi, the transition might not be as difficult as it could be for Americans and Europeans. 

People often relocate to Qatar for job opportunities and fewer tax restrictions. When people enter a new country with a rich, defined history and culture, it is always good to become accustomed to following their traditions to assimilate well as an expat living in Qatar.

Qatar is very Islamic in terms of both inhabitation and culture on which it was built. Therefore, there are still many old-fashioned traditions followed, even when the nation as a whole is thriving to meet modern standards.

Education is the focal point of the Qatar Government. Whether you bring your kids to Qatar or plan to have one or more while in the country, your children’s future is secure.

omen's rights in the country are a bit more conservative than in many other places in the world, but on the whole, it is becoming more liberal. Both women and men should wear enough clothes to cover their knees and shoulders, and often, arms. Wearing a veil is not required for foreigners.

The climate in Qatar is very hot and humid, making it uncomfortable for expats to wear a full suit as business attire. That’s why it is forgiven, at least until they’re used to the heat. Expats can use their driver’s license only after seven days of moving to Qatar, and can also apply for a new one. If your company doesn’t provide you a car or rental, it is recommended to buy one, as getting around by bus or taxi can be expensive.

Having coworkers and clients from all over the globe means the work culture in Qatar is great. However, communication style and cultural differences can sometimes clash, especially for Western people. Being patient and aware of cultural differences can help you settle into the new lifestyle.

Interesting facts about Qatar's multicultural population

multiculturalism in doha

Qatar quickly feels familiar to many expats because of the multicultural population. Salaries in the country are similar to those paid in Western countries, and the best part is, your income is tax-free.

Here are some more coolest and astonishing facts expatriates should know about Qatar:

Qatar is the richest country on earth. And, safest too!

  • 92% of Qatar's 2.7M inhabitants live in Doha -- the capital.
  • Filipino, Indian, and Bangladeshi are top nationalities of expats in Qatar.
  • As of early 2018, Qatar is the 143rd most populous country in the world.
  • The Bangladeshi community recorded the highest upsurge of people in Qatar with a whopping 104% increase.
  • The top three Arab countries with the most people residing in Qatar are Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

Qatar - the first Gulf country to grant expats permanent residency

Qatar has officially made permanent residency an option for some of its long-time foreign residents, who have been living here for 20 years or more. Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued a new law, in September 2018, granting permanent residency (PR) to 100 expatriates every year. Now, most migrant workers can leave the country without an exit visa.

The new law entitles PR holders to a generous welfare system, commercial and social rights previously reserved for Qataris. They will also be equally given priority in government jobs. Children of Qatari women married to foreigners, children of naturalized Qataris and spouse of citizens automatically become permanent residents.

Bottom line

Qatar is a safe and welcoming place for foreign, whether they’re travelers or workers planning to settle down in this Arab country. Since Qatar a melting pot of various cultures, it provides a wonderful experience for people. To make life easier in Qatar, one should learn to respect the country’s traditions and religions of their fellows.

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