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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a pretty specific question. I'm Canadian and studying in Canada to be a petroleum engineer, and I want to live in the UAE or Qatar. I'll be straight up with my motives:

Reason 1) I am fascinated by these countries, especially the larger cities, interested in the culture, would like to learn to speak Arabic, enjoy warm climates, want to travel throughout the Eastern Hemisphere.

Reason 2) I want to make as much money as possible in the shortest period of time. I decided to go to school later than most and will be graduating with my degree in PetrE when I am 27.

I would like to skip the tradition path of getting your engineering degree, working for the company for ~3 years until you're a professional engineer, and then hopefully get an expat assignment. I want to go straight to working in the abroad out of school.

So my question is, is this possible? I'm going to break the question down into a few other questions to make it easier.

I guess there would be two options, working for a native company or working for a North American company with operations in the these areas. From what I can tell the financial benefit of doing an expat assignment (for an American oil company as an engineer) is you get your American salary + a bonus for the assignment + pay no taxes (provided your tax residency is in order) + comped for living expenses.

1) Do the engineers that work for the native companies, like say Qatar Petroleum, make as much money as the expat engineers in terms of total compensation?

2) If Yes, is it even possible to get a job for a native company as a fresh Canadian graduate? I'm more asking if it's legally possible. I'm confident in my ability to get the experience through internships and make the right connections so that I'm a more attractive option than a native graduate, but I want to know, even if I am able to do that, will there still be no hope because of employment laws etc.

3) If No and No, is it possible to get on with any American oil companies (producers) and be given an expat assignment straight out of school. (I'm assuming no)

I'd like to thank anyone in advance who is willing to read through all of this and offer some guidance!
 

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1) National employees of NOCs will always make make, and often paid better by IOCs as well. As an expat, you'd probably make more money working for a local NOC than an IOC, but with limited/slower career progression.

2) Yes it's theoretically possibly, but in practical terms it won't happen unless you have 10+ years of experience. Nationalisation is a major government agenda here, nationals of whatever country will also get preference for anything short of an incredibly specialised role which requires a contractor with decades of experience

3) Unlikely, unless you're willing to take a hardship posting - the 'Magic Kingdom' is about the only one left.

You're only really option is getting a role with an IOC and moving over with them after a few years. You might find one right out of university with them, but it's unlikely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for taking the time to reply! I guess that's kind of what I was expecting.

Didn't know that the national employees did so well. So I guess all the foreigners that come to my school to study petroleum engineering will clean up if they decide to go back home and work.
 

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You have your answers, but I just want to add some details / perpecstive. You decide if they are useful to your case or not...

For me, you are what is identified as "fresh-out" - someone just graduated from university with zero practical experience who will need further specific training. For us (my company, Oil & Gas industry), it is a multi-year investment training program (i.e. 3+) of specific focus depending on whichever division you work for in the company.

In practical terms, you are not expected to make significant contribution other than performing well in your training steps. Thus, it is difficult to justify financially a (generally) expensive ex-pat position.

Ex-pat, in general, means someone who works outside of their own country. In Dubai, that means everyone from the Pakistani/Indian labor person digging ditches to the Westerner CEO.

However, I will narrow down the term to someone working at, minimum, mid-level position (not managerial yet) and receiving full ex-pat benefits (i.e. full proper housing provided with unlimited utilities, proper International school for children, car allowance, pension / bonus, proper vacation allowances, tax protection, other benefits, etc.). So, in general, the overall cost is generally from US$250,000 to US$400,000+ for the position.

To offset such costs, the (again, in general) revenue needs to come from said position is around US$2M to justify.

So, in general, we employ locals for fresh-out positions for long-term investment - or required due to localization. And employ "experienced-professionals" for aforementioned ex-pat positions.

Hope that helps...
 

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UAE is so hot, i dont think that you will like the climate there especially since you live in Canada now. Could you by any chance get me to Canada? I'm willing to work in even groccery shops or market to get to there. I'm a computer engineer, now you know how much i like Canada and how much I'd love to live there.
 
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