Relocation – The Middle East
The Middle East is fast becoming an attractive resettlement location for British expats. With the Gulf States
This makes it an appealing option for Service leavers looking for a fresh start. With the Expo 2020 taking place in Dubai next year, it could be a good time to consider a Middle Eastern adventure.
By Gary Buswell
Here are some of the locations we think Service-leavers should consider…
United Arab Emirates
One of the most popular destinations in the Middle East due to its two thriving cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a sizeable expat population and is one of the more liberal and multicultural of the Gulf states.
Job opportunities: With money being pumped into several big infrastructure projects in the country, there is a current need for skilled foreign labour. The biggest recruitment sectors at the moment are construction (with job opportunities including project management, quantity surveying and engineering), ITC, finance, healthcare (nurses and medical professionals) and teachers in the many English-speaking schools.
Culture and lifestyle: Culturally, the Emirates is one of the most mixed and relaxed of all the Gulf states. Around 88% of the population is immigrant and there are plenty of English-speaking expat services and facilities as well as opportunities to sample local Arabic culture in restaurants, museums and souks. There
Salaries and cost of living: Good earnings opportunities, tax-free salaries and VAT at only 5%. The average net salary is around £2,000 a month (higher than the UK), with higher-paid jobs paying around £4-5k. The biggest expense is accommodation (similar costs to
The smallest nation in the Gulf with a population of just 1.3 million, Bahrain is considered one of the best places to live in the Middle East in terms of quality of life and ranks highly in studies on social life, work culture and environment.
Job opportunities: Bahrain has a highly developed economy which has diversified a lot in recent years. It’s the financial capital of the Gulf region with several big Arab banks as well as western banks such as Citibank and BNP Paribas based there. Its fast-growing economy means there are opportunities for expats in sectors such as construction, tourism, education and the service sector.
Culture and lifestyle: Similar to the UAE, Bahrain offers a blend of Arabic and western culture in one of the most cosmopolitan environments in the Middle East. Its capital, Manama, was ranked
Salaries and cost of living: Like many other Gulf states, there is zero tax although residents pay a 1% social security levy. The average net salary is around £1,200 per month (rising to £3-4k for top jobs) and the cost of living is around 14% lower than in the UK. Public healthcare and schooling
One of the world’s wealthiest countries due to its vast oil reserves, Qatar is a beautiful country with spectacular white sandy beaches and a desert landscape. The country will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is creating employment opportunities across several industries.
Job opportunities: The national economy has, up until now, been heavily driven by the large oil and gas industries as well as a strong financial sector. With the World Cup seeing around $200 billion spent on stadiums, facilities and transport, big firms are currently looking for skilled labour and managerial staff in areas such as construction, tourism and hospitality, engineering and transport planning.
Culture and lifestyle: Another country with a majority (88%) expat population, (although with not so many Europeans and English-speakers as Bahrain or UAE). Most
Salaries and cost of living: Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world, with average wages around £2,600 a month. According to one study, around a third of expats in Qatar have a disposable income of over $100,000. It’s another tax-free zone and about 10% cheaper to live in than the UK, but accommodation is over 50% more expensive and energy bills are high due to
Known for being one of the strictest Islamic regimes in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia has shown some signs of modernising and there are plans to invest billions on social programmes that will bring new jobs and opportunities to the country.
Job opportunities: As much as $1 trillion is estimated to be spent over the next decade on development projects in construction, infrastructure, power, water, IT, agriculture, health and education and the country will be looking to attract skilled foreign labour to fill the many gaps.
Culture and lifestyle: Life in Saudi Arabia is more strictly governed by Islamic customs. There are no bars, clubs or cinemas. Alcohol and pork are banned. Dress codes are more restrictive and women have less freedom, although some laws have been relaxed recently. Western residents mostly live in segregated compounds where they have a certain amount of freedom to live as they like.
Cost of living: Saudi Arabia is one of the more affordable Gulf countries. General living costs are nearly 30% cheaper than in the UK, with accommodation costs over 60% cheaper on average. Salaries, however, are still good. The average salary works out at around £1,300 a month with some managerial level jobs paying around £3-4k. There is no tax, just a 2% social security levy which is normally covered by employers.
Finding a job
www.gulftalent.com – general recruitment
www.naukrigulf.com – general recruitment
Visas and general information
Tel: 020 7581 1281
Tel: 020 7201 9170
Tel: 020 7493 2200
Saudi Arabia Embassy
Tel: 020 7917 3000