Bahrain tops the new Expat Essentials Index published by InterNations under its Expat Insider 2022 survey, which says that expats find it easy to do normal transactions and connect with others in the kingdom. The UAE takes the second spot in this index.

Bahrain ranks 15th out of 52 destinations overall in the Best & Worst Places for Expats in 2022 survey.

Dealing with administrative issues can be a pain when one moves abroad, but expats in Bahrain have no trouble with such topics, voting the country second in this subcategory. Expats find it easy to open a local bank account (85% vs. 64% globally), deal with local bureaucracy (67% vs. 40% globally), and obtain a visa before moving there (70% vs. 56% globally), finds the survey.

The Housing (10th) and Language (4th) sub categories are further highlights in this index. Over four in five expats (82%) report that it is easy to find housing in Bahrain (vs. 54% globally), and the same share finds it easy to live there without speaking the local language (vs. 51% globally). That is helpful, since just 28% of expats find the latter easy to learn (vs. 41% globally).

Getting Connected

The Ease of Settling in Index is another high point for expats in Bahrain (the kingdom ranks 12th in this category, globally). The majority feels that making local friends is easy (57% vs. 42% globally).

Respondents describe the local population as generally friendly towards foreign residents (77% vs. 65% globally), helping place Bahrain 10th in the Local Friendliness sub category. However, just 4% of expats are mainly friends with local residents (vs. 17% globally). Another 60% describe their friends and acquaintances as a fairly mixed group (vs. 49% globally), and 37% mainly spend time with other expats (vs. 33% globally).

An expat from Kyrgyzstan says that “meeting with people around Bahrain and sharing each other’s experiences” is a highlight of her life abroad.

Bahrain only narrowly misses out on a top 10 spot in the Culture & Welcome Sub category (11th position). Indeed, 75% of expats say that it is easy to get used to the local culture (vs. 62% globally), and 70% feel welcome in Bahrain (vs. 66% globally). “It is very easy to integrate,” says an expat from Malaysia. “I do not feel like a stranger here.”

Environmental Concerns

When it comes to the Quality of Life Index (23rd), Bahrain receives mixed results, particularly in the Environment & Climate sub category (39th). Expats rank the country in the bottom 10 (49th) for the natural environment (aspects such as nature, scenery, and wildlife). However, 70% believe that the government supports policies to protect the environment (vs. 61% globally).

Other than that, expats especially appreciate the culinary variety and dining options (7th), as well as the easy access to all the kinds of healthcare services they need (4th). In fact, 80% rate the latter factor positively (vs. 67% globally), and 51% even say that it could not be any better (vs. 32% globally).

Lack of job security

About one in three expats (33%) were recruited internationally to come to Bahrain, and 26% found a job there on their own. However, more than one in four (28%) are now dissatisfied with their job security, compared to 20% globally, and 17% do not see a purpose in their work (vs. 9% globally), finds the survey.

While the share of those working full time is a lot higher than the global average (95% vs. 83% globally), and their average working hours per week are longer (44.3 hours vs. 40.2 hours globally), expats in Bahrain also earn less than those in other destinations: there is a particularly high share of expats in Bahrain with a gross yearly income of less than $12,000 (26% vs. 18% globally). On the other hand, only 11% of respondents in Bahrain earn more than $100,000 per year, which is about half the global average (21%).

The UAE performs especially well in the Expat Essentials Index (2nd), ranking right behind Bahrain. Expats are particularly happy with the ease of handling Admin Topics (3rd) in the UAE. First of all, 83% found it easy to get a visa to move there, compared to only 56% globally, ranking the UAE first worldwide for this factor. Once they arrive, over three in five expats (61%) have no problem dealing with the local bureaucracy/authorities, 21 percentage points more than the global average (40%).

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