Looking for a job in Bahrain? Here’s a detailed guide on what to expect and how to go about it.


Bahrain, the archipelago in the Persian Gulf, is not only known for its riches from the oil reserves. The group of islands is a natural beauty surrounded by the deep blue waters. The sandy beaches, tropical climate and date palms dotting the landscape are some of the major attractions in Bahrain.


That is not all. Bahrain was named as one of the best places for expats to work and live in, doing much better than Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The survey ranked countries based on various factors such as quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, personal finance and cost of living.


The population of Bahrain is also culturally diverse. The primary reason is the high percentage of expats in Bahrain; they account for almost 50% of the total population.

Jobs and Industries

The oil industry has been the major source of income for most of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. It also continues to provide employment to a large section of the population. The Bahrain National Oil Company (BANOCO), Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and BANAGAS are the energy industries. The other major employers in Bahrain are Aluminum Bahrain (ALBA), and Arabian Ship Repair Yard (ASRY).


A dip in the prices of oil, however, has resulted in the development of other industries as streams of revenue. Chief among them is the tourism and the services industry. If you have previously worked in hospitality, it will be easier to get jobs in Bahrain.


Construction is yet another of the key employers. Rapid infrastructure expansion has resulted in a greater number of construction projects increasing the demand for manual workers.


Teaching English is another well-paying job option in Bahrain. There are dedicated sites that compile openings for English teaching jobs abroad. Being a native speaker of English increases your chances of being hired.


Speaking of the services industry, Bahrain has distinguished itself as the lead in the financial services industry. Several financial institutions and banks have established their branches in Bahrain. Thus, accounting professionals and finance executives are sure to find a rewarding opportunity in Bahrain.


The other alternative to seeking a job is setting up a business in Bahrain. For this too you will need a local sponsor who will not only complete the paperwork on your behalf but also take responsibility for any wrongdoings.

Women and Work

The status of women has always been questioned in Arab countries. But women in Bahrain, expats and locals, enjoy a greater amount of freedom.


Women have made their foray into fields that were earlier male-dominated. Along with medicine and education, women can seek employment in banking, finance and service industries.


Work Permits and Visas

There is a list of documents that expats must obtain before entering the country for work. Without the same, hirings could be delayed; it could also invite hefty fines.


The first is a work visa valid for one or two years; it authorises an expat to enter the country for work. The employer arranges most of the paperwork. Second, you will need a residency permit to reside in the country. Finally, you will need a Central Population Registry (CPR) card; it is an identity card with a unique number that expats can use to move around in Bahrain.


An expat’s dependents require a family visa to reside in the country. They are permitted to stay in the country only during the period of employment. Dependants cannot take up employment unless they secure a separate work visa.


To start with, you can visit Bahrain on a tourist visa. You can explore the available opportunities and network to build contacts. A tourist visa is valid for a month and requires sponsorship by a Bahraini national.

Salary and End of Service Benefits

The salaries in Bahrain are at par with the salaries in the west for specific roles. With bonuses and incentives you can expect it to go higher. The no income tax policy is the greatest advantage for expats.


Expats are eligible for an indemnity to be paid at the end of the contract to expatriates. The indemnity amount can be big if the person has stayed in Bahrain for a long time. It is based on the basic salary.


On termination of employment, employers are expected to pay 15-20 days salary for three years. For employment exceeding 3 years, the indemnity amount equals a month’s salary.


All employees enjoy 30 days of paid annual leave.


Cost of Living

  1. Housing

Similar to most Gulf countries, the cost of rent is the largest expense you will incur during your stay. It depends on the type and size of the unit as well as the area in which it is located. Gated expat compounds are more costly than housing options in the town. Picking up a residential unit closer to a business center will mean you pay more.


  1. Education

There are private and public schools in Bahrain. However, most expats prefer to enroll their children in private schools, given that the curriculum matches that of their home country and is less conservative. Education in public schools is free of cost; they even provide transport, lunches, uniforms and textbooks for no charge.


Some employers cover education costs for expatriate employees, but that is not the case with all. Private schools entail a higher school fee and have long waiting lists.


  1. Healthcare

Bahrain is known for its healthcare facilities, public and private. Bahrain nationals are covered by the public healthcare system, free of cost.


Expats too have access to government facilities for health; however, they have to pay for the same. It is compulsory for expats to have a health insurance cover during their stay in Bahrain. In most cases, your employer will contribute your share to the mandatory health insurance. You can also supplement your health cover with an individually-bought private policy.


Transportation is affordable given the cheap price of fuel.

What’s allowed and what’s not

Most of the Gulf countries have strict policies in place. Not adhering to it can get you in trouble.

Compared to the other Islam-following Middle East nations, Bahrain is a liberal nation. They are tolerant of other religions. It is not uncommon to find a mosque at every other corner, but there are churches too.

An expat is not given citizenship of the country. Foreigners are also not allowed to own land or property.


Arabic and English are the two extensively used languages across Bahrain within personal circles and for business. It is not a big deal if you do not know Arabic, but you will blend in well with the Bahrainis if you do know a bit.

Looking for a Job in Bahrain


As a foreigner from Bahrain, here’s how you can search for a job.


Search online

This is the best place to start looking. There are job search sites as well as professional portals like LinkedIn. The sites are updated regularly. They also display postings from across the world including Bahrain.


Exploit connections

Getting a job in Bahrain would be easier if you can use a local contact or a connection residing in Bahrain. You can visit the country on a travel visa and look for available jobs. You can carry your certificates on these visits in case you come across a good opportunity.


Follow companies

Bahrain has a number of successful local businesses and multinational companies.


As an expat considering a move to Bahrain, you can research the leading companies in your field. Keep track of and apply to suitable job openings in these companies.


Recruiting agents

Headhunters and recruitment agencies act as middlemen matching job seekers with the right jobs. Agencies specialize in providing work according to the field for instance, construction, medical, office staff, executives, engineers and technicians.


A typical work week in Bahrain is for 5 days. The weekend could either be a Thursday and Friday or a Friday and Saturday.