Bahrain is the top GCC destination for expats, says survey

Author: PM editorial | Date: 29 Sep 2016

Settling down in the country is easy and nearly half of expats feel at home within six months

A “straightforward financial landscape”, the ease of making friends and the quality of life are just a few of the reasons Bahrain has been named the top destination in the GCC for expats.
HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey 2016, ranked Bahrain at ninth out of 45, three places ahead of the UAE, in a global league table based on thousands of responses from expatriate workers around the world.
“Bahrain is an easy and stable choice for expats, offering a smooth transition and a warm welcome,” said the report. “Financially, the country offers several benefits. The straightforward financial landscape means just seven per cent say their tax situation is more complicated than at home, compared with the global average of 27 per cent.”
The UAE, Bahrain and Qatar also scored highly on one of the Middle East’s traditional strength for expats – the ability to save money. Nearly two-third of expats in Qatar said they had more disposable income as a result of their move, compared to the global average of 56 per cent.
However, it’s more than favourable taxation and good wages that mean Bahrain scored so highly. “Bahrain is a popular destination beyond just financial considerations,” said the report. “Settling into the country is not a challenge and nearly half of expats say the country felt like home within six months (compared with the global average of 31 per cent). Nearly two thirds say finding accommodation is easy and only 11 per cent found integrating into the country's culture and lifestyle difficult.”
The Monster Employment Index recently suggested that online recruitment has grown by 14 per cent in Bahrain year-on-year, which also puts it top in the GCC, ahead of Oman, for the strength of its jobs market.
Another important category, work-life balance, has improved for countries in the region since last year. Bahrain in particular was ranked fourth globally. “In total, 76 per cent of expats in these countries say the work-life balance is either better than or as good as at home, reinforcing the fact that having better personal finances does not necessarily come at the expense of a social life,” said the report.