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Working in Brunei?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Working in Brunei with relevant information for expats.

Friedrich Schloßberg

Living in Brunei, from Germany

"I really love to discover new cultures, especially here in Brunei. Sometimes it is great, however, to mingle with the international community."

Eva Naumann

Living in Brunei, from Austria

"It was great to meet some other people from Austria here in Brunei through InterNations. It feels a little bit like home."

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Brunei at a Glance

Working in Brunei

Expats working in Brunei get to enjoy unique career opportunities, as well as a rapidly growing economy fueled by the largest oilfields in Southeast Asia. Want to know more? Read our InterNations Guide to find out everything you need to know about the economy, job prospects, and taxation in Brunei!

Economic Overview

Though it is a small nation, Brunei boasts an incredibly wealthy economy, largely down to its international relations and oil deposits. Each day around 167,000 barrels of oil are produced, and around 25.3 million cubic meters of liquefied natural gas. Brunei is the fourth largest producer of oil in Southeast Asia and is one of the richest countries in the world. Substantial income from overseas investment supplements the economy, and most of these investments are managed by the Brunei Investment Agency, a department of the Ministry of Finance. The government uses this money to, among other things, pay for all medical services, and subsidize rice and housing.

Given the makeup of its climate and environment, Brunei relies heavily on an import, export system whereby many food stuffs are brought into the country. Around 60% of its required food is imported, with 75% of the imported food coming from nearby Asian countries. Over the few next years, Brunei’s leaders hope to increase the workforce and reduce unemployment by growing the banking and tourism sectors. Royal Brunei Airline is also trying to develop the country as a modest hub for international travel between Europe and Oceania, so it is hoped that in the next few years there will be a rise in tourism.

Many expats are likely to find work in Brunei in one of the many international industries that have sprung up there over the last few decades. Indeed, thanks to its booming economy there are few places in the world where anyone is likely to find a more international business hub. Its placement as a bridge between Europe and Oceania, too, means that Brunei is perfect for anybody looking to spread their business and business experiences across continents.

Job Hunting in Brunei

Given the nature of its economy, it is very likely that as an expatriate you will have a good chance of finding work. Thanks to the country's preference of English as business language, you are unlikely to encounter a language barrier at work. Many options exist for job seekers, with online job searches being an excellent way to find work, and with many expat and international job search portals existing to aid finding jobs abroad.

Using sites like LinkedIn can also be a massive help, and it is also a brilliant way to build a social base once you arrive in the country. Many opportunities also exist for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – a job that is fairly easy to qualify (particularly for native speakers) and that, once qualified, is always going to be in demand in a country like Brunei where English is relied upon so heavily as a secondary, working language.

Of course there are always more traditional job search methods, and word of mouth can be as useful as anything else if you know people already located in the country. Searching as much as possible is, as always, the best way to find a job abroad that is going to suit you.

In any case it is best to move to Brunei with an understanding of where you would like to be working, as well as a practiced hand when it comes to interviewing and applying. The best way to find and get any job, in any location, is to put yourself forward in a way that appeals to potential employers. Understand your business, fine tune your CV, and look to exploit any experiences and knowledge that you have to make you stand out as the perfect candidate for a job in Brunei.

Taxation in Brunei

There is no personal tax on individuals living in Brunei, and the same is true for both residents and non-residents. There are also no social security taxes as such, however, all citizens and permanent residents, including expatriates, must contribute 5% of their annual salary to a state managed provident fund – Tabung Amanah Perkerja (TAP). The employer also has to contribute the same amount to the provident fund.

In addition to paying money toward TAP, all citizens and permanent Brunei residents must contribute 3.5% of their salary to a Supplemental Contributory Pension Scheme (SCP); as with TAP, the employer also has to contribute the same amount although both amounts are capped up to a salary of 2,800 BND a month.

InterNations Expat Magazine