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Blog: Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Working in the Middle East

by Lee Lovekin - Lead Consultant, Oscar Energy Oil & Gas

The Middle East offers many fantastic opportunities for Energy professionals across the world to experience an exciting working and living culture in a rapidly developing location.

But moving to a new country can pose a number of cultural, legal and travel benefits and challenges which you will need to be aware of and prepared for before opting to accept a position - and the Middle East states are no different.

As Oscar Energy’s Lead Consultant for Oil and Gas jobs in the Middle East, I speak to candidates every day about professional and personal life in the area, and what arrangements they would need to make prior to moving.

Here are my Top Five questions that you need to ask before accepting a position in the Middle East:

1. What type of visa or work permit do you need and who will be taking care of it?

As an expat moving to work in the Middle East, you will need to have a relevant work visa.

This is usually managed by your employer but it is always worth checking the arrangements prior to accepting the position.

If you are planning to take family with you, it is also important to make the same checks for them. Sometimes the employer will only arrange your visa, leaving the responsibility of visa preparations for your spouse and children down to you.

The whole visa process can take anywhere up to six months, including various embassy visits, so be prepared for this.

2. Will accommodation be arranged by the employer, or will you receive an allowance to find your own accommodation?

Employers will sometimes provide accommodation for you, however you will not always be able to choose the location.

Receiving an accommodation allowance and making your own living arrangements can often be a more flexible and cost effective option if the employer allows it.

Carry out plenty of research into the areas where you want to live in and find out the cost of these properties before agreeing an accommodation allowance. Always check if your monthly charge includes utilities, and whether there is a deposit to pay prior to moving in.

3. Will your employer cover your relocation costs or yearly holiday travel?

If your employer is offering free flights with your new position, always check what is included.

Will you be flying first or economy class? How many flights per year are you allowed? Will they also provide flights for your family members living with you?

4. Will your employer cover international school fees?

When moving abroad with your family, ensuring your children receive the best education possible is paramount.

Many areas of the Middle East are well prepared for the number of expats living there, and have a number of well respected international schools.

As with accommodation, conduct research into your preferred schools and the costs involved before agreeing on a schooling allowance with your employer.

5. Will your employer provide health and medical cover?

It is really important to look after your health when working abroad.

Most employers will provide some sort of medical coverage, but always check the details. Everybody has different needs when it comes to healthcare, so ensure your package includes everything you and your family may need.

Many Gulf nations are investing heavily in their healthcare systems and have excellent healthcare facilities available to expats.

If you have any further questions about life in the Middle East or the role prior to accepting, speak to your Recruitment Consultant who will be happy to help.