The Middle East region continues to experience sustained economic growth, driven mainly by high oil revenues. Major oil-producing countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have directly benefited due to their high oil exports. These positive economic developments have resulted in an increase in expat jobs in both oil-producing and non-oil-producing countries in the region.
The economic boom in the Middle East has attracted thousands of both professional talents and unskilled workers. Major multinational companies and regional firms are the leading recruiters of skilled employees as they expand their workforce. Expats planning to relocate in the region, however, should be willing to adapt to a complete change of lifestyle if they opt to work in the area.
Key Points to Consider When Planning to Work in the Middle East
Foreign workers expect a significant change in their way of life and working environment if they plan to work in the Middle East. They should be prepared to experience a scorching temperature that could reach over 50 degrees Celsius during the summer. The countries also restrict the sale of pork products and alcohol. Female workers may face limited work opportunities due to cultural and other factors. Here are some things to ponder upon if planning to relocate in the areas, which have been listed below.
- Cost of living– The majority of countries in the Middle East collect minimal or free income taxes from expats. The price of fuel is also low, but education and home rentals can be costly.
- Culture and lifestyle– When relocating to the region, you should be prepared to adapt to its Islamic way of life. In Saudi Arabia, for example, prayer times are strictly observed five times a day with religious police or Muttawa enforcing Islamic and Wahabi practices in the kingdom.
- Accommodations– Home rentals are generally high in the Gulf countries. However, factors like job cuts and a surplus of supply are resulting in a sustained decline in rental costs.
- Health and education– Majority of expats enroll their children in private schools. Tuition in these schools are high, but some countries like Bahrain offer free public-school education.
- Visa Requirements– There are several documentary requirements for visa applications like diplomas and professional licenses. However, employers are generally responsible for the processing of visas.
Top Middle East Countries for Expats
Here is a list of the Middle East countries offering the most in-demand expat jobs.
- Saudi Arabia– The country offers lots of expat jobs, but is one of the strictest Islamic countries in the region.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)– The emirate is among the less strict states and offers lots of great entertainment, restaurants, and sporting clubs.
- Bahrain– This is a country for expats who expect a better quality of life, as well as a pleasant working environment and culture.
- Qatar– This country offers various jobs in the construction industry as it is building transport, stadiums, and other facilities for its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Working in the Middle East may be a good career plan for you because of the many high-paying job opportunities in the region. With the right mindset and willingness to adapt, you can provide a better life for your family if you opt to work in these countries.