Securing an OFW job in Bahrain is exhilarating! Known for being an incredibly prosperous and culturally diverse monarchy, the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the six nations constituting the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Bahrain occupies the clear and tranquil western waters of the Persian Gulf. It is an increasingly popular job destination for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) because it grants an open economy; it provides low-taxation policies to skilled and semi-skilled foreign workers in various job industries. So it’s no wonder that OFWs flock to this country because of hefty wages and incentives.
When landing a job in Bahrain, here are key things you initially need to do:
Get your permits validated, pronto
As soon as you step down at the Bahrain International Airport, head to a Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) terminal. LMRA uses an eGovernment portal that helps speed up permit procedures for Filipino workers.
Your employer has arranged your work permit before your arrival. Now all you need to do is submit key documents that include your visa and passport, as well as copies of your health exam results, fingerprints, ID photos, and signature. LMRA is in direct link to specific governing entities and will coordinate with them to issue your own ID and residence permit.
Aside from the health exam conducted before your departure, you will be given another appointment for a government-controlled medical checkup. An AIDS/HIV testing is mandatory!
Immerse in its diverse cultural environment
Although Bahrain is a heavily Islam-ified Arab monarchy, its local citizens show surprising tolerance of other religions and cultures.
But, take note about Bahrain’s rules and prohibitions.
Here are the top 5:
- Smoking and drinking alcohol in public are illegal.
- Do not wear revealing clothing. Dress smartly, not provocatively.
- Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) are prohibited. For men, never touch a Bahraini woman. For women, never shake hands with men.
- Always accept any kind of refreshment. It is considered rude to turn it down.
- During Ramadan, do not consume any food or drink (not even water!) in public between sunrise and sunset.
If you need to wind down, Bahrain’s cities allow you to enjoy a slew of theme parks, malls, cinemas, temples, historical sites (recommended: visit Tree of Life!), museums, and pubs. Don’t forget to grab some delicious Bahraini food: Try the heavily-seasoned rice Biryani or a hearty Margoog veggie stew to cap off a demanding work day.
Understand your working conditions
Bahrain’s working conditions maintain excellent infrastructure. According to the Living and Working in the Gulf States & Saudi Arabia, even contract workers have “indemnity” after finishing their contract. An indemnity pays the basic salary, excluding bonuses.
The country’s regular workweek covers 40-48 hours, depending on company policy.
Office hours typically start at 8:30 – 9:00 am and ends around 5:30 – 6:00 pm. Government offices and other businesses run shorter opening hours, from 7:30 – 2:00 pm.
The eight-hour work day cuts back to six hours during the holy month of Ramadan. While this may apply to Muslims only, other companies include all of their staff. The official Bahrain weekend falls on Friday to Saturday. Friday is rest day for Muslims.
Know where to get medical treatment
Medical support and treatment go beyond the initial physical exams for OFWs. Knowing where to go and get medical help is key to living a good life abroad. Getting sick is not an option for an overseas worker; whenever you feel fever rising or your coughing fits escalating, check with the nearest doctor and healthcare facility.
- The national emergency hotline number you can call for emergencies is 999.
- Ambulance services are equipped with a highly trained staff and advanced equipment and ready to whisk off patients in need.
- 24-hour open pharmacies are easily accessible around Bahrain’s cities and small towns.
- Medicines are quite expensive so do not throw away your receipt. Your insurance coverage will reimburse it!
Although OFWs can have access to the public healthcare system in Bahrain, the majority go for private healthcare instead. Both expat and local workers have private health insurance included in their employment package. Private facilities are more convenient and flexible in terms of room availability and visiting hours. Most of these facilities have general practitioners (GP) to attend to specific health needs.
Learn about living costs
Standard of living in Bahrain ranks considerably high. OFWs can get decent and affordable property rentals, but some companies offer free accommodation villas. Note that rented properties in Bahrain come with utilities and taxes. For transport, there are budget car rentals available.
If your company provides you a car, you have to spend at least 50 Bahraini Dinar (BHD) monthly on gas. It will cost much LESS if you take public transport. There’s a public bus system that directly links most of the cities and towns. A single bus fare can cost you 250 Fils (or 0.25 BHD). Taxi charges depend on your travel time and work destination.
In Bahrain, there is no personal income, corporate, value added or withholding tax. But you need to cough up 1% of your income for social security insurance or shoulder 10% municipal tax on monthly rent.
According to a Bahrain Tax Guide 2013, Bahrain “has entered into avoidance of double taxation treaties with several countries,” including the Philippines (PKF International Limited, 2013). Your earnings won’t be taxed twice! You also need to determine how much you need to spend on your food, leisure, remittances, and savings.
That said, being in a foreign country is no joke. Having the proper knowledge of Bahrain’s foreign worker policies and conditions, culture, medical support, and living costs will make your transition to the Kingdom a smoother one.
How was your experience as an OFW job in Bahrain like? Feel free to share with us your thoughts by commenting down below!
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