Work in Bahrain

Work in Bahrain

20th Jul 2016

Bahrain is considered to be one of the middle east’s hidden gems. A modern kingdom spread over more than 30 islands, it can provide the perfect middle ground between the massively developed hubs of the UAE and Qatar and more traditional Arab living.

 

The National Flag of Bahrain

Bahrain National Flag

 

Geography of Bahrain

Located off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, and just 40 miles from Qatar, Bahrain can be the perfect place from which to explore the middle east. Regular, reasonably priced flights are available meaning that you can be in Qatar in just 45 minutes and Abu Dhabi in just over an hour. As well as this the King Fahd Causeway (a vast series of bridges and causeways) makes it possible to drive to Saudi Arabia in under an hour. This opens up a vast array of new cities, countries and lifestyles to explore right on your doorstep.

Bahrain Manama Skyline and Dhows at Dusk

 

Bahrain Healthcare System

The healthcare system in Bahrain is one of the most advanced in the world and, akin to neighbouring Dubai, it is becoming a hub for health tourism.

As with almost every system worldwide it is split into private and public sectors. Both sectors are considerably smaller than other gulf nations with just 4 state and 14 private hospitals in the country, although these are supplemented by many smaller clinics and surgeries.

The size of the country is the main reason for the low number of hospitals. Bahrain is just 715km2 making it around half the size of the Faroe Islands, and a similar size to Singapore and Micronesia.

Bahrain is not as densely populated as Singapore however, with a population of just 1.3 million. This allows the healthcare system to focus on providing a high quality of service to residents, expats and tourists within the country.

Recent statistics show that the healthcare system - which is one of the best funded in the Gulf region - is enjoying a great deal of success. Bahrain boasts one of the healthiest populations on earth, and the country only appears to be getting healthier.

Life as a medic within the Bahraini healthcare system is far removed from the lifestyle endured by many working in the NHS. Akin to the National Health Service the state system is free at the point of need for Bahraini nationals, unlike in Britain however these people only make up around 46% of the total population. This means that the healthcare system in the country is never stretched beyond its means.

Funding for the system is also generous, far more so than in most European countries. This ensures that hospitals are not understaffed, doctors and specialists aren’t overworked and a healthy work/life balance is achieved.

One of the main reasons that many people give for wanting to escape from the NHS is the ever growing paperwork and bureaucracy that prevents them from doing what they love - treating patients.

In Bahrain this isn’t an issue, there is far less paperwork (and what there is, is often covered by the hospitals admin staff) and there is little bureaucracy. This can allow medics to focus on working with the state of the art equipment within the hospitals to treat patients.

If working within the Bahraini healthcare system is sounding appealing to you then it would be an idea to discover more about the country prior to committing to a move.

 

Bahrain - A Brief Description

Bahrain is a country which has developed at a phenomenal rate in recent years. Around 60 years ago the country had a population of just over 100,000. Today that number sits at 1.3 million largely thanks to immigration.

 

Early immigrants were attracted mainly from Asia by the promise of better working conditions, a cleaner environment and better wages. In more recent times there has been an influx in Westerners working within the Oil, Medical, IT and Banking industries where the wages are often considerably more attractive than they are in Europe.

 

These arrivals - along with the rapid growth in the development of nearby Qatar - have seen the northern part of the island developed into one of the middle east’s main tourism hubs. The capital city of Manama boasts plenty for people to do, from the Adhari Park theme park for those with children (and thrill-seeking adults!) to the incredible Bahrain National Museum which guides visitors through 4000 years of history.

 

Bahrain - Attractions

Whilst most of the settlements and attractions are in the north of the island there is still plenty to do in the south. The Royal Golf Club in Riffa is the country's only 18 hole championship standard golf course whilst further south, in Sakhir, is the Bahrain International Circuit, host of the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. It takes just under an hour to drive the length of the island, which is roughly half the size of Bedfordshire in England, making it perfect for people who don’t enjoy travelling, and want everything on their doorstep.

 

Thanks to the high number of western expats working and living in Bahrain it can boast shopping malls featuring plenty of brands from the west like Marks & Spencer's, Starbucks and even Waitrose!

 

Furthermore the education system is built around the expat community meaning there is plenty of high quality educational facilities teaching European, American, Asian and Arab curriculums.

 

This can create the feeling of a home away from home for many people, and combined with the traditional island mentality makes Bahrain a very relaxing and comfortable place to live.

 

Of course the simple issue of better weather is often enough to convince people to move abroad, and the climate in Bahrain should suit sun lovers. On average the country experiences just 10 days of rainfall all year, and year round average temperatures are nearly 40 degrees celsius.

 

Almost every building in the country is air conditioned, so don’t worry about the heat when you’re inside, whilst housing is built to be as shady and cool as possible.

 

In such a diverse environment there’s plenty of groups you can join with other expats from specific countries, or from around the world. These can be in the form of clubs where you can play sports, have a meal or simply meet other expats such as the Dilmun Club in Saar, or more focused groups such as the Bahrain yacht or rugby clubs where you can spend time with other people who share your interests.

 

If life in the relaxed, modern and sun drenched kingdom of Bahrain is sounding appealing to you then it could be the right time to explore how realistic a move may be.

 

Bahrain Grand Mosque

Bahrain - Jobs for Doctors

In order to gain employment within the country as a consultant, employers will look for a CCT (or equivalent) along with Western qualifications and board accreditation. MRCPUK, Canadian, French and American are the most sought after, however certification from other, equally as well regarded, countries may also be accepted.

As well as this most employers will look for upwards of 5 years experience and will require candidates to be fluent in English. A knowledge (however limited) of Arabic or another relevant language (such as French or German) would also help your chances of gaining employment, though it is certainly not essential for all hospitals.

If you have earned these qualifications and have a well written CV then the opportunity of relocating your career to Bahrain could be closer than you think.
 

Bahrain Taxes

Of course a major attraction of moving to the Gulf for many people is the prospect of a tax free salary. Bahrain is no different, though there is unemployment insurance which takes 2% from your earnings, and a 3% levy paid by employers on your salary for insurance against injury in the workplace.

 

Bahrain Currency

The Bahraini Dinar is the world’s 2nd highest value currency, and at the time of writing (July 2016) 1 dinar is currently worth £2 or $2.65USD. As a result salary figures may appear far lower than in the UK at first glance. In the country consultants can expect to earn upwards of £83,000 a year (around 41,000BHD) whilst this figure can rise to almost £120,000 tax free in private hospitals depending on experience and your performance.

 

This isn’t all, most hospitals will include accommodation or an allowance to pay for this within their salary package. As well as this there is the benefit of up to 30 days paid leave, shorter working hours and study breaks for research or to attend at seminars. Furthermore the hospital will cover the cost of flights to Bahrain and the return journey at the end of your contract.

 

Given the country's reputation as the middle east’s holiday retreat it comes as a surprise to a great deal of people that the cost of living is actually substantially lower than it is in the United Kingdom.

 

Bahrain Cost of Living

As with all Gulf countries fuel is dramatically cheaper than it it almost anywhere else in the world. Whilst in the UK a litre of petrol is likely to cost between 108 and 111 pence it’s just 27 pence on average in Bahrain. This not only makes personal travel cheaper, but also reduces the cost of public transport and taxi travel. The cost of essential groceries is also much lower as a result of lower demand, and lower taxes on agriculture.

 

One thing which is more expensive in the country than it would be at home is alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are only available in licensed restaurants and this makes it over 80% more expensive on average than it would be in the United Kingdom.

 

Despite this moving to Bahrain can be as financially rewarding as it is for your personal and working life. Concerns about the immigration process are still one of the main reasons why people elect to stay at home and not take their career overseas.

 

Bahrain -  Immigration

The immigration process in Bahrain can seem complex, however it is far more simple than most people imagine..

 

A visa will be required from all foreign nationals, unless they are a native of an Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council country (Saudi Arabia, Oman, The UAE and Kuwait). Assuming that you are from outwith these countries then an employment visa and work permit will be required, and these will be sponsored by your new employer.

 

Almost every hospital in Bahrain will have an HR department specialist in overseas arrivals who will deal with getting the visa and work permit. As this is a relatively common procedure for them the process should be relatively quick.

 

For people coming to the country with a family a ‘family visa’ will be required. This will allow you, your husband/wife and any children to live (but not work) in the country for the duration of your contract.

 

In order to apply for the visa and work permit you’ll need to provide a passport (with at least 6 months left on it), a birth certificate and (if applicable) a marriage certificate. Medical tests may also have to be undertaken to ensure that you are free from any sexually transmitted diseases, however a certificate from your home country to say that you are healthy may prove to be enough to get round this.

 

Whilst it’s no longer a law anybody from Israel or with Israeli stamps in their passport may find it difficult to gain access to the country. Refusal of entry is rare, but having the stamps in your passport may cause a slight hold up during the process. It’s best to check with the Bahraini embassy in your home country to ensure that everything runs smoothly prior to travelling.

 

As many medics overlook Bahrain in favour of the larger and higher profile nearby kingdoms of The UAE and Qatar, it becomes a more attractive, exclusive and sought after place to work. It enjoys a prime position in the heart of the region, a relaxed island atmosphere, access to plenty of facilities and above all else one of the world’s best healthcare sectors.

 

The salary packages are attractive and the cost of living is surprisingly low, making it the ideal destination for almost anyone considering taking their career abroad, or for anyone simply looking for a change from life in the UAE.

 

If you believe that Bahrain and its islands are where your future lies then register on our website https://www.odysseyrecruitment.com/ and like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/odysseyrec/ for job alerts and all the latest news from the country’s healthcare sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bahrain Quick Facts

 

 

Capital

Manama

Biggest City

Manama

Language

Arabic

National Anthem

Bahrainona

Total Area

765km2

Population

1,343,000

GDP

$34.908bn

GDP per capita

$24,281

Monarch

Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

Crown Prince

Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

Prime Minister

Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa

Currency

Bahraini Dinar

Population Density

1789 per km2

Calling Code

+973

Internet

.bh

Unemployment Rate

3.9%

Net Migration

13.09 per 1000

National Colour

Red & White

National Plant

No National Plant

National Animal

Arabian Oryx

 

 

Bahrain Main cities and towns

 

 

Name

Population

Manama

154,700

Riffa

111,000

Muharraq

98,800

Sitra

60,100

Hamad Town

57,000

A'ali

51,400

Isa Town

39,800

Budaiya

33,230

Jidhafs

32,600

Al-Malikiyah

14,800

 

Main Health Issues in Bahrain

 

Obesity - Bahrain is currently undergoing what has been labelled an obesity epidemic.The relatively recent widespread availability of fast food combined with a poor education on how to lead a healthy diet mean that currently an estimated 66% of the country’s population are classified as overweight. This increases a person's chances of various health conditions - from heart disease (the biggest killer in the country) to skin conditions and even psychiatric illnesses caused by body image concerns.

 

Diabetes - Unsurprisingly therefore diabetes rates in the country are extremely high - the 10th highest in the world at the time of writing. This is an issue throughout most middle eastern countries and so if you are moving to the region be prepared to work with a greater than usual number of people suffering with the condition as it affects roughly 1 in 10 Bahrainis.

 

Anaemia - Bahrain has a higher rate of anaemia than many other countries. Research has concluded that roughly 18% of Bahrainis carry the genetically passed down sickle cell anaemia condition, whilst 24% carry Thalassemia an illness which results in abnormal formation of hemoglobin and, as a result, improper oxygen transport around the body. Thalassemia kills roughly 20,000 people worldwide every year.

 

Endocrine Disorders - Bahrain has the 8th highest rates of endocrine disorders in the world, commonly affecting the hormone system, ovaries and Pineal gland. Endocrine disorders are also related to diabetes making them one of the most widespread medical issues facing people in Bahrain today.

 

Multiple Sclerosis - In Bahrain MS is an increasingly prevalent condition - especially amongst women - meaning that death rates from the condition in the country are higher than average.

 

MS affects its sufferers in many different ways. A loss of balance is common, along with a tremor or double vision. Difficulty chewing food, depression and hearing loss can also be signs of the condition making it one of the most common, diverse and difficult to treat demyelinating diseases in the world.

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