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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Expats Love Their Social Life in Bahrain

In Bahrain, it is easy to deal with the essentials of expat life (i.e., housing, bureaucracy, digital life, language), and expats also feel welcome there.

Bahrain ranks 9th out of 53 destinations in the Expat Insider 2023 survey. The bureaucracy involved in moving to and settling down in Bahrain is easy to handle for expats — the country ranks 1st for admin topics (i.e., getting a visa, dealing with local authorities, opening a bank account). Digital services (8th) are also widely available, and the language (1st) is not a big hurdle for expats. But survey respondents in Bahrain are unhappy with their disposable household income (51st), and many say that they are not paid fairly for their work (48th). Still, 71% are happy with their life in Bahrain, about the same as the global average of 72%. 

Admin Topics Are Not an Issue in Bahrain 

Expat Essentials (1st), for example administrative topics, are not a reason for concern in Bahrain. In fact, nearly nine in ten (86%) say that opening a local bank account is easy (vs. 62% globally). For over seven in ten (73%), applying for a visa was not difficult either (vs. 57% globally), and 59% do not struggle when dealing with bureaucracy and the local authorities (vs. 39% globally).  

The language barrier is rather low: 78% find it easy to live in Bahrain without speaking the local language (vs. 50% globally). And though about one in four (27%) find it difficult to learn, this is actually lower than the worldwide share of 38%.  

Housing is easy to find in the country (according to 75% vs. 49% globally) but not quite as easy to afford. Nearly three in ten survey respondents (28%) struggle with this factor, though this share is at least noticeably lower than the global average of 42%. Last but not least, Bahrain is thriving when it comes to digital life (8th). It is easy to get high-speed internet access at home (6th), and administrative tasks can easily be taken care of online (7th). However, unrestricted access to online services (such as social media) can be difficult to come by in Bahrain (41st). 

Finding Friends Is Easy for Expats 

Ranking 9th in the Ease of Settling In Index, Bahrain is a great destination for Finding Friends (6th). In fact, 64% of expats in Bahrain find it generally easy to make local friends (vs. 43% globally). The Local Friendliness (15th) probably plays no small part in that — 82% describe the local population as generally friendly towards foreign residents (vs. 65% globally). But for many survey respondents, their social life is a particular highlight: 70% are happy with this factor, compared to a global average of 56%. Unsurprisingly, the majority of expats feels welcome in Bahrain (84% vs. 67% globally). 

“Bahrain makes me feel like I belong. I love how small the country is  and how you always feel like family!” – US American expat 

Good Healthcare, but Little Natural Beauty 

Due to some mixed results, Bahrain ranks only 20th in the Quality of Life Index. Expats are particularly happy with the easy access to all kinds of healthcare services (78% vs. 65% globally). And 78% appreciate the quality of medical care (vs. 70% globally).  

Still, the Environment & Climate (40th) offers some reasons for concern: 17% rate the natural environment poorly (vs. 6% globally), while 20% say the same about the urban environment (vs. 16% globally). Many expats also do not seem to cope well with the arid climate and weather (51st).  

Great Career Prospects, Not So Great Work-Life Balance  

Moving to Bahrain has improved their career prospects, according to 71% of survey respondents (vs. 59% globally). Another 63% agree that the local business culture encourages creativity and thinking outside the box, compared to 51% globally.  

At the same time, 24% are unhappy with their working hours (vs. 16% globally). With an average of 49.3 hours per week for full-time employees, these are indeed much longer than the global average of 42.7 hours. No wonder that Bahrain only ranks 41st for work-life balance. Still, thanks to factors like a strong local economy (13th), Bahrain lands in 19th place for Working Abroad.  

Not the Best Place for Financially Conscious Expats 

However, not all expats may be benefiting personally from the economy: 27% believe they are not paid fairly for their work (vs. 19% globally). And though 48% are happy with the general cost of living (vs. 44% globally), only a little more than half (52%) are actually satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 58% globally). Lastly, more than two in five (43%) do not feel like their disposable household income is enough to afford a comfortable life in Bahrain (vs. 27% globally). All in all, this puts the country in an average 27th place for Personal Finance.

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