Did you know that the most favored Gulf destination for expats in the world is Bahrain? Yes, the rankings by the Inter Nations Expat insider survey 2015 had Bahrain in the 17th position, ahead of the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia! The popularity of the nation is possibly evidenced by the strong Bahrain bourse. Bahrain is a small nation of over 30 islands, with a population of approximately 1.3 million. Bahrain in Arabic means “two seas,” referring to the fresh water springs beneath the salt water of the gulf. But what makes the ‘Kingdom of Two Seas’ the most preferred country in the Gulf? Let’s find out.
Best Destination in the Gulf
- Job Opportunities: Bahrain is called the Gateway to the Gulf for its strategic location and close proximity to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was the first country to discover oil fields but now is more involved with oil refining, petroleum processing and the financial markets. So as far as employment opportunities are concerned, along with the recent relaxation of visa policies for Indians, the destination is perfect for both white collared and blue collared workers, as evidenced by the number of Indian expats reaching close to 3 lakhs in Bahrain!
- Economy: The economy is strengthened by the nation championing open economy, impressive infrastructure and access to a pool of educated employees. According to Gulfair, the country has the free-est market in the Middle East and ranks 16th worldwide, ahead of Germany, France, China and India! There is minimum red tape and complete foreign ownership policies. Moreover, the country has a liberalized labor market and a sound legal and regulatory framework for markets. And that is reflected in the strong Bahrain Bourse. So, business is definitely healthy here.
- Culture: The nation is considered one of the most liberal amongst the Gulf countries. It has a rich history dating back 4,000 years to the times of the Dilmun civilization. The population largely follows the Islamic faith, but that does not affect the modern and relaxed outlook of the state, with relaxation on niqab and burkha. Women are allowed to drive and own businesses here. The fact that Saudis travel to this island country frequently for holidays is also indicative of the ambiance of the place.
According to the World Population Review, more than half of the population of Bahrain comprises expats and that is one of the reasons for the rich, modern and inclusive culture. You will be surprised to know that out of the two famous Souqs in Bahrain, Al-manmah is mostly populated by the Indian subcontinent masses. It is no wonder then that even though the national language is Arabic, English, Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam are also understood.
With such an accommodating environment, no wonder it scores well for life and work on the HSBC 2014 survey, becoming the best country to live in amongst the Gulf nations.