Manama: Bahrain is the most popular destination in the world for expatriates, a global survey indicates.
The Kingdom has been given high marks by its expats as a place to work and raise a family and for making foreigners feel welcome.
Nearly nine in 10 expats (87 per cent) said they are happy with their lives in Bahrain, a country that offers them everything they need, Expat Insider 2017 Survey Report said.
More than 12,500 respondents representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories answered our questions, providing unique insights into what it means to be an expat in 2017, said Expat Insider, one of the largest surveys worldwide offering an in-depth analysis of expat life across the globe.
The score is impressive jump for Bahrain which ranked 19th last year, barely making the top 20 in 2016. However, improvements across all indices that factor into the ranking have seen Bahrain take pole position in 2017.
Bahrain really excels in making expats feel at home, and the country tops the Ease of Settling In Index. It also comes first for being able to get by without learning the local language; one Kyrgyz respondent likes that Bahrainis are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone speaks English. In fact, a quarter of expats in Bahrain (25%) say they started feeling at home almost straight away. This is particularly impressive given that a third of respondents in Bahrain (33%) have never lived abroad before, the study said.
Respondents said they are also happy with their careers.
Not only does Bahrain rank third in the Working Abroad Index, it is also second in the Job & Career as well as the Work-Life Balance subcategory. While Bahrain’s position in the Cost of Living Index remains almost the same (28th place), it improved by 13 places in the Personal Finance Index to take the 13th spot. In terms of their financial situation, 68 per cent of expats are generally satisfied, and 41 per cent say that they earn a lot more than they would back home.
According to the annual study, expats with families also agree it is a great destination. Bahrain improved from 34th place in the overall Family Life Index in 2016 to tenth in 2017.
The country ranks first for family life in general and fourth for the friendly attitude towards families with kids. Compared to 2016, there was a significant improvement in the quality of education (from 22nd place to sixth), and the availability of childcare and education (from 32nd place to 11th), the study said.
Many respondents praised the country: one American expat called it a beautiful melting pot of many different cultures, and another respondent from the Philippines said it was their home away from home.
With such glowing reviews, it is no surprise that almost a third of expats (32 per cent) see themselves staying in Bahrain for more than five years, and 11 per cent say they might stay forever.
The survey ranks 65 countries by a variety of factors such as quality of life, working abroad and settling in. With nearly 13,000 respondents living and working abroad, it is one of the most extensive expat studies, conducted yearly by InterNations, the largest expat community worldwide.
Our country rankings list the best (and worst) among 65 destinations across the globe, focusing on essential topics: quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance, and cost of living. We also compare results across the years, identifying the biggest winners and losers in 2017, InterNations said.
After 2016’s focus on working abroad, this year we are taking a closer look at the Ease of Settling In Index, from local friendships and expat bubbles to feeling (un)welcome in a country and its culture.
The top ten destinations for expatriates this year were Bahrain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Taiwan, Portugal, New Zealand, Malta, Colombia, Singapore and Spain.
Source: Bahrain News Agency