All about Jobs and Work in Bahrain
How can I find a job in Bahrain?
There are number of recruitment websites targeting the Middle East. Bayt and Monster are some of the websites you can have a look at. Alternatively, you can visit the Jobs in Bahrain section of this forum where you can see available jobs in Bahrain. If you have a particular employer in mind, it doesn’t harm to send a speculative application - in fact, some employers like this kind of approach. Make sure you include your skills, experience and ambitions in your cover letter, followed by an up-to-date CV. Other options are to post your CV online and have it open for inspection by prospective employers. All employers in Bahrain will ask for a certified (attested) copy of your examinations whether they be school or degree so don’t lie on your CV. Also a very good way is to ensure you have an up to date CV on websites such as Monster, LinkedIn and Total Jobs make your details visible to prospective employers who can search then for their ideal candidate without the costs of advertising. I know many people who have gained employment in the Middle East this way.
In this forum, many questions about finding jobs in Bahrain has been answered numerous times. Please use Work in Bahrain forum to look at previous posts submitted on this topic.
I am being interviewed. What should I ask to my employer about my package?
By no means is this section a definitive list of questions you should ask to your employer during an interview, based on our experience most packages include the following in addition to the salary: Medical insurance, accommodation allowance, relocation allowance, car allowance, a flight-ticket to home (usually once or twice a year), club / gym membership and schooling. The amounts for each of these allowances really vary depending on your skill set and your level within the company so we wouldn’t want to put figures for these.
Although not common, we have heard number of incidents where some dodgy companies are trying to make people come to Bahrain and work without a visa. This is completely illegal and you should be careful when it comes to choosing the company to work for. Always make your research about the company before accepting any offer. If you are in doubt, ask at the Bahrain forum for further information. On the same subject, some companies (specifically employing western consultants) will tell you that they don't need to provide you with a Bahrain visa or CPR (Residency) if they are placing you in Saudi. Whilst this is legally true, you will not be able to open a bank account, lease a car or get a mobile phone on contract. Push for your Bahraini company to apply for your residency.
What is the currency in Bahrain?
The currency in Bahrain is Bahraini Dinar (BHD / BD). The exchange rate is fixed to US Dollar and the Saudi Riyal. As of late January 2013, exchange rates for some of the popular currencies are as follows:
Unlike many other countries, 1 Bahraini Dinar is made of 1,000 fills. Although 1 fill doesn’t buy you anything, to help you compare with your currency, you can buy a can of Coke for 150 fills from most shops.
In Bahrain, you will see notes of 500 fills (half a Dinar), 1 Dinar, 5 Dinars, 10 Dinars and 20 Dinars. Like many other countries in GCC, most places will accept currencies from other GCC countries, particularly the ones from Saudi Arabia.
Credit Cards are widely accepted everywhere in Bahrain. Most popular cards are VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Credimax and JCB.
If you are coming to Bahrain from a non-Muslim country, you will be surprised to find that the weekends in Bahrain are Fridays and Saturdays. It will take you a good few months to get used to it so make sure you have your alarms set on Sunday mornings for work.
How much salary is a good salary in Bahrain?
Probably one of the most commonly asked questions in the forum is how much salary is a good salary in Bahrain. Well, this is a question that cannot be answered, its like saying, what’s the best car in the world. for someone with a million dollars in the bank it might be a Ferrari, for someone who is on a modest income who wants to get the best mileage it may be a Toyota Prius.
The only way to answer this question is to give a broad outline of how much things cost in Bahrain, after all, we do not know what your current standard of living is.
As mentioned above, a ‘good salary’ depends on your lifestyle and personal circumstances. One can find a 2 bedroom flat for 350-400 BD while the same 2 bedroom flat can be up to 750 BD in certain areas or buildings. Based on our experience, the higher your flat is in a tower-block / skyscraper, the more expensive it gets. Also, certain areas such as Seef is more expensive than the others.
But don't be put of by agents that tell you that some areas (like Saar or Tubli) are “no go” areas. This is totally untrue, you can get a very safe 4 bed villa in Saar (by the way, this is where all of the Ambassadors residencies are) with a private pool for between 1200 and 1500 BD / month. Check out Bahrain Property World.
I’ve been offered a job. Now what?
There are number of things you will need to do before coming to Bahrain. Most of these will be taken care of by your employer, however sometimes the employer may forget or might not be so clear on the steps that need to be taken prior to you coming to Bahrain so this section will help you with those core steps that need to be taken before your arrival to Bahrain. Always use your employer’s knowledge and guidance about this before anything else as they will be the ones who know the system in Bahrain more than anyone else - however the following is helpful for you to understand the process.
You will be asked to send copies of your passport (sometimes including the stamped pages of your passport). Please note it is a known fact that if you have a stamp from Israel on your passport, you can be denied entry to Bahrain or getting a visa. If you are in this situation, please explain this to your potential employer to prevent nasty surprises. Although some people have managed to get a visa and entry to Bahrain despite having stamps from Israel on their passport, it is up to the border control officer’s discretion to deny entry should he see this stamp.
The passport must have a minimum of 6 months left to run on it and also have a minimum of 3 blank pages. This is needed for your visa and entry/exit stamps at customs. If you do have a passport that has the Israel stamp or only a short while to run etc it is advisable to get a new one before commencing your trip here.
It is a mandatory requirement by the Kingdom of Bahrain government that you will need to have your health checks done in the country of origin your arrival to Bahrain. Some employers don’t mention this, however please make sure you clear this requirement with your employer before you come to Bahrain. The Authorised Health Centres section of the LMRA website lists the health centres Bahraini government have an agreement with. If your country is not listed on this website, then you can have your health checks done by your preferred medical organisation, however please ensure that you are checked for the right medical examination required. The details can be seen or downloaded from the LMRA website, but your employer should also guide you on this process.
Please note usually employers cover the cost of medical checks required for visa purposes, so don’t forget to keep all the receipts you will have as a result of your medical checks so you can claim them back from your employer. When I had mine done back in the UK, I had to pay around £400 in total, luckily my employer reimbursed me the cost in full.
You will be given number of papers by your doctor / medical examiner and the photocopies of these will have to be forwarded to your employer so they can initiate the visa process.
You will then wait to hear back from your employer until your visa is issued. Once this is confirmed, you are then clear to start moving to Bahrain.
There will be another set of medical checks once you are in Bahrain but they will not be as exhaustive as the ones you will have completed before your arrival. These checks are required for your CPR (Central Population Registration) Card to be issued.
CPR is a very important piece of Card that every Bahraini citizen and resident must have. Without it, you don’t practically exist in this country - which means you cannot open a bank account, you cannot subscribe to a mobile phone contract nor you can subscribe to broadband. The issuance of CPR can take time so this should be your first priority upon arrival to Bahrain.
I have a job in Saudi Arabia but want to live in Bahrain.
Many expats do this, either on a daily basis or by staying in Saudi 3 or 4 days a week and returning for weekends. Either way there are some basic facts about this "commute" that need to be understood.
You will need to ensure that your employer arranges a Multi Entry / Exit Visa for Saudi Arabia. Your first entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has to be via an airport. This is true whenever you get a new Saudi Visa, after that you can drive over the causeway.
The drive from Bahrain to Saudi is via the King Fahd Causeway, a 25km series of bridges and causeways connecting Bahrain, just south of Saar, to Saudi Arabia at Khobar.
You will need to buy additional insurance to drive in Saudi, and in order to purchase insurance you will need a letter of authorisation from the car rental or leasing company allowing you to take the car out of Bahrain. This has to be requested when you first collect your car, and is valid for up to 3 months. Most rental companies will make a charge for this letter of up to 50BD. You will need to show this when you purchase your insurance.
Insurance can be purchased at the United Insurance booth to the right just after you pass under the Janabiyah Highway junction, heading west from Bahrain. Insurance is based on the size and value of the car you are driving, but for a small / mid-sized car such as a Toyota Corolla the fee is 4.5BD / Day, 17.5BD / Week or 47BD/ Month.
Before entering the Causeway itself, there are a set of toll booths, where you need to pay a fee to use the Causeway. This is 2BD for cars, (more for trucks and busses). This fee is chargeable each way.
After approximately 12km you come to a man-made island which houses Bahrain exit points and Saudi Entry points. This comprises a series of check points where you follow the following procedure.
Check Point 1 - Traffic: Your insurance is validated and you will be given a traffic permit (Note, the first time you use your letter of authorization it will be to be stamped by Bahraini Authorities, which involves a short walk to the traffic office)
Check Point 2 - Bahrain Passport Control: Hand over your Passport and traffic permit, your passport will be stamped.
Check Point 3 - Not sure of the purpose of this one, there is no barrier, but you have to drive past a customs man in a toll booth without showing any documentation
Check point 4 - Saudi Passport Control: Hand over Passport and traffic permit, your Passport will be stamped
Check Point 5 - Saudi Customs: You will be told to pull over into a numbered bay, park, open your trunk (boot), get out of car and hand your Traffic Permit to a customs official. Customs will either stamp your permit or search your car then stamp your permit.
Check Point 6 - Saudi Traffic: Hand your traffic permit to official, who keeps it and lets you into Saudi Arabia.
Coming back simply reverse the process, with the following differences;
At Check Point 5 you have to pay 5BD for a new Bahrain Visa each time, unless you have a Bahrain Residency Permit.
At Check Point 6 if you purchased the Insurance when leaving Bahrain, you need to use the far left booth marked “Insured Vehicles".
On a good day the process takes about 20 mins, However be prepared for this to take up to 2 hrs occasionally.
The procedure on the return back from Saudi takes longer, especially on a Wednesday evening, when this has been known to take 3 hrs.
As you can imagine a standard passport will rapidly fill up, it is a good idea to paper clip a few blank pages together to prevent every page being used. Otherwise it can be difficult to apply for other visas where you need 2 blank pages opposite each other.
Once you have a Residency Permit you can apply for a Causeway Book which get stamped instead of your passport.
Written by brightonguy and Josnuggles.
Guide section: Work
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