Estimates hold the number of expats worldwide to be greater than 50 million. What drives their decision to leave their home country? In order for expats to succeed, it’s essential that they relocate to a place that offers what they seek.
Bahrain holds many opportunities for expatriates looking for something better, whether it’s better stability, a better job, a better quality of life, or a better future. If you’re thinking about expat living in Bahrain, this article offers a place to start exploring the process and the possibilities.
What is an expat?
An expat, which is an abbreviation for expatriate, is someone who lives in a country other than the one in which they were born and raised. Many expatriates leave home with the intention of living or working in another country for a time and then returning home eventually, but others choose to stay in their new location, usually because it offers them a firmer financial foothold, better quality of life, or higher standard of living.
Many different reasons can lead someone to become an expatriate. Often, expats are people who have moved to pursue a new work situation or business opportunity. Sometimes expats are motivated by love, and they move to be closer to someone dear to them. Still others find they are drawn to a different country because they want to experience a different way of life, either because they are drawn to the culture, they’re seeking adventure, or they can enjoy a higher standard of living due to the local economic conditions.
Why move to Bahrain as an expat?
Bahrain comes highly recommended by expatriates as a place to consider relocating; it has even been described by some sources as the best place for American expats.
The Kingdom of Bahrain topped InterNations’ 2018 list of the best expat countries. Among the highlights noted for Bahrain’s first-place ranking were how well expats are able to communicate without local language skills, its overall friendliness, how easily expats are able to make friends, and how easily expats are able to settle in. In fact, Bahrain ranked No. 1 for its ability to make expats feel as though they are at home. Working hours, job security, and overall job satisfaction also received high rankings. As far as family life, Bahrain ranked well for the quality of education and availability of childcare and education. What’s more, 95 percent of respondents for the InterNations’ list indicated that the general attitude in Bahrain toward families with children is friendly.
When it comes to the business and employment side of things, a 2019 report from HSBC, as reported by CNBC, concluded that Bahrain is currently ranked No. 2 for the best destination for international workers. The results come from a survey of more than 22,000 expats working in 163 countries worldwide, and the survey metrics included such factors as work/life balance, career development, and earnings prospects.
A key factor driving Bahrain’s impressive HSBC ranking was its remuneration packages for international employees, according to the report. For 77 percent of respondents, Bahrain offered better earnings prospects than their home countries. Additional relocation benefits, such as an accommodation allowance, airfare stipend, and medical package were also major perks that led many to decide to move to Bahrain.
Expats working in Bahrain who responded to the HSBC survey also noted that Bahrain holds excellent opportunities for career development, due to the fact that relationships are highly valued in Bahrain and employees can gain communication and leadership skills as they learn to navigate those business relationships.
How to become an expat
Before deciding to move abroad, would-be expats need to consider several different things, according to the International Citizens Group:
- Where will you be moving to?
- Will you need a visa?
- Will you need to learn another language or culture?
- Where will you live?
- Where will you work?
- What will you do if you become injured or sick?
It is important that those who want to become expatriates do their homework to ensure not only that they can make the move but also that they can be successful in their new country of residence.
How to more easily transition to expat living
Several things can make it easier to transition to life as an expatriate.
To begin with, it’s helpful to have a job, or at minimum several interviews, lined up before making the leap to living in another country. Have a job in place will take away the mystery of where you will work and how you will afford to live, but it will also make it much easier for you to obtain a visa. This is because your new employer can usually arrange for a sponsored visa to allow you to live in the country for an extended period of time — even years. Your employer may also be able to recommend good areas in which to live as well as resources to help you become more familiar with the local culture.
Other ways to ease your transition into expat living are to thoroughly research your destination country to more fully understand the culture. Visit the country if you are able to; the more time you spend there, the better of an idea you can get for how well you will enjoy expat living. Another important thing to do is to research the laws and tax situation in the country you plan to relocate to. Your country’s embassy within the destination country should have additional resources for important things to know.
While expat living can hold many new and exciting opportunities, it’s not for everyone. To have the greatest chance of success with expat living, people considering becoming expatriates should thoroughly research the country to which they intend to move and should also do their best to line up employment prior to making the leap.
When it comes to the best places for expat living, Bahrain comes in at or near the top on several lists beyond the ones mentioned here. If you’re looking for exciting business ventures in a country that is friendly to visitors and families, doesn’t require you to learn a new language in order to thrive, and offers all the amenities you could want, you need look no further than Bahrain.