Living in Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf. The country is an archipelago centred around Bahrain Island and is situated between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It is connected to the latter by the 25-kilometre King Fahd Causeway which was opened in 1986. Bahrain’s population is roughly 1.3 million, with over half being foreign nationals who constitute about 70% of the workforce – largely employed in the finance sector.
In 2018, the capital Manama ranked 3rd in the world on the list of Best Cities for Expats, according to Expat Insider – having been 1st the previous year. One reason for the high score is its favourability in the ‘Getting Settled’ index, where it ranks 1st from the 72 cities on the list. Over 70% of those polled said it was very easy to get used to the local culture and that they felt ‘at home’ in the city.
- Bahrain is the smallest among the countries in the Middle East.
- The name ‘Bahrain’ means two seas, which is attributed to the sweet water springs and salty water in the surrounding seas.
- The archipelago contains 33 islands.
- The country is an early cradle of civilisation with a 5000-year archaeological legacy
- The currency of Bahrain is the Dinar. 1 Dinar is equivalent to 2.66 US Dollar.
Cost of Living
Visas are required for all visitors to Bahrain, unless you hold a passport for one of the other countries involved in the Gulf Cooperation Council. In order to be granted a work permit, expats need to either be sponsored by an employer or a Bahraini national. Visas are granted by the Bahrain Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and must be obtained before entry.
For more, see here: https://www.mofa.gov.bh/Default.aspx?tabid=256
The average overall cost of living consistently ranks cheaper than its neighbouring countries in the middle east, such as the UAE and Kuwait. And while lifestyle clearly depends on finances and preferences, the country is generally very affordable for expats. Manama is ranked 57th from 209 cities in the Mercer’s Cost of Living rankings – the rankings demonstrate how currency fluctuations and shifts in the prices of goods and services affects the purchasing power of expats in Bahrain.
For more information, see here: https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/cost-of-living-rankings
Public transport is mainly bus and taxis. There are different fares on taxis, a day fare and a night fare, as well as airport cabs. The taxis all have a sticker with the fares outlined in the rear window. Busses are cheap and still largely used by migrant workers and day labourers who cannot afford a car or taxi. The busses are air conditioned and comfortable for travel and the bus routes can be accessed online.
For more information, see the transport section of the government’s website - https://www.bahrain.bh/
Bahrain is blessed with a wide variety of excellent International schools. A full list can be found on the Expat Arrivals website as well as the curriculums each school follows. Attending an international school allows children to gain international qualifications such as the Baccalaureate and makes the transition across countries slightly easier. Places in these schools fill up quickly, therefore it is recommended that organising schooling be a priority before arriving in Bahrain.
For a greater insight into schooling in Bahrain, check out Kingpin’s in depth guide here;- http://www.kingpininternational.com/news/article/comprehensive-guide-international-schooling-bahrai/
If you are interested in a move to Bahrain or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, across Direct Tax, Transfer Pricing or Indirect Tax please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, view our current International Tax vacancies.