Bahrain only Gulf nation among top 10 destinations for expats

BAHRAIN is still among the top 10 expat destinations despite increasing inflation and high cost of living, it was revealed.

However, though ranked first in the past two years, the kingdom dropped six places and was rated seventh in the latest Expat Insider 2019 survey conducted by InterNations, the world’s largest expatriate community.

But Bahrain is the only Gulf country to be listed among the top 10 expat destinations in the study which ranked 64 countries.

Taiwan, Vietnam and Portugal were ranked as the top three expat destinations, based on ease of settling in and good personal finances.

Kuwait was at the bottom of the list, after Nigeria (62) and Italy (63).

The survey covered 20,259 expats representing 182 nationalities and living in 187 countries.

The six main parameters used in the survey were: quality of life (Bahrain scored 26 out of 64), ease of settling in (2), working abroad (18), family life (13), personal finance (22), and cost of living (29).

The cost of living covers basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare.

“Bahrain comes seventh out of 64 destinations in the Expat Insider 2019 survey,” said the document.


“While Bahrain is still in the top 10 countries for career prospects and job satisfaction, expats seem to be less satisfied with their working hours (ranked third in 2018 to 27th in 2019) and job security (fifth to 19th).”

The study quoted an Indian expatriate in Bahrain as saying he disliked “the economy’s instability and the fact that there is no growth”.

“Despite the Gulf state losing ground in terms of working abroad and family life, expats are still generally happy.”

The findings showed that 62pc of expats are happy with the state of the local economy, which is just about the global average (63pc).

“Expat parents are also slightly less happy, ranking Bahrain 13th out of 36 countries in the Family Life Index.

“Still, more than 93pc parents rate the friendly attitude towards families with children positively, compared with 81pc globally.”

The study said expats in Bahrain keep having no issues with settling in their new country, with 82pc respondents saying it was easy to settle down in Bahrain (compared with 59pc globally).

A total of 68pc of respondents said it was easy to make friends in Bahrain (54pc globally) and 94pc said it was easy to live in Manama without speaking Arabic (45pc globally).

This is the fourth survey where Bahrain’s ranking has declined due to various factors including high cost of living and relocation costs.

The GDN reported in July that it was cheaper for individuals and families to relocate to some European cities compared to Manama, according to the 2019 Moving Price Index that surveyed 85 cities.

German-based relocation company Movinga ranked Bahrain as the 39th most expensive city in the world to relocate.

The total cost for an individual to relocate to Manama was $6,191, including a monthly charge of $403 on food and drinks, $18 phone bill and $34 for transportation – all three of which are listed under “essentials”.

Meanwhile, Manama was ranked the fifth most expensive Arab city to live in according to the Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey, while it was ranked 11th in the world for high cost of living in the 2019 Expat Explorer survey by HSBC.

Electricity and water rates have been increasing annually in Bahrain since 2016, with the final increase enforced in March this year as part of a series of austerity measures adopted by the government in 2015 to offset the drop in oil prices.

Consumers in Bahrain also started paying a five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on utility bills, among other products and services, from January 1 this year.

In other measures, petrol prices were increased in January last year with the price of premium Mumtaz (95 octane) fuel rising from 160 fils to 200 fils per litre, and cheaper Jayyid (91 octane) fuel costing 140 fils per litre from 125 fils.



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