Are you now applying for a job in Bahrain? Will you bring your family sooner or later? How are you preparing yourself? If you plan to move to Bahrain in the near future, expect that there are a lot of challenges you should face especially if you come from a non-Muslim country. But first, you should know that you cannot just decide to work and live in the country any time you like. Below is a short but comprehensive guide on how expats in Bahrain arrive in the country and their daily life.Visa
You will need a visa
before you can visit Bahrain, unless you are coming from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) - Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE, or you are from UK and you will stay in the country for less than a month. Bahrain visit visas usually take 72 hours to two weeks before they are approved, but it may take three months in some nationalities. On the other hand, overseas working visas are arranged by employers and a work permit should be secured. But more importantly, you cannot just visit Bahrain and then apply for work during your stay.
Working in Bahrain
First of all, you should start adjusting yourself in terms of working days. Starting September 1, 2006, Fridays and Saturdays are weekends in Bahrain replacing Thursday and Friday. This is common for other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, and Kuwait. But probably the biggest challenge to face is the extreme heat, because Bahrain temperatures can reach up to 45°C (113°F). The currency in Bahrain is Bahraini Dinar (BHD) and has a fixed exchange rate which was made official in 2001 - 1 Bahraini Dinar = US$2.65. Salaries and benefits can vary, depending on your employer. Lifestyle
Bahrain is a tax free
country, and therefore you don’t have to worry of paying hefty withholding tax. Shopping is not really that expensive. Generally speaking, it is cheaper than Europe or the US. Despite being a Muslim nation, dress code is not really a problem. However, women are not advised to wear sleeveless tops or show too much cleavage. Knees and shoulders should be covered when you are in malls. If you are in public place and you are not wearing appropriate clothes, someone may approach you, and you need to apologize politely. For men, clothes should always be clean and neatly pressed.Internet censorship
There is a current uprising in Bahrain which began on February 14, 2011 and was dubbed as “Day of Rage.” Series of protests are being held especially in Manama, the country’s capital. As an expat, you don’t really need to worry about this especially your safety; just avoid going to the protest areas. However, expect that Internet censorship is strict. Starting January 2009, Bahrain's Ministry of Information started to implement a new and stricter filtering policy and has blocked a lot of sites and blogs that concern pornography, politics, religion, and human rights. There are some blocked YouTube videos that are related to the uprising. Nevertheless, Facebook and Twitter are not blocked in Bahrain.
But in general, Bahrain is a wonderful country and is a safe place to work and stay. You just have to follow their rules, be aware of your surroundings, and respect the people as well as their culture. After all, you should do the same even if you are in your home country.