*This article may have affiliate links, which means we may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links we provide (at no extra cost to you). For more details, please read our privacy policy/affiliate disclosure. Thank you for supporting the work we put into this blog!

work in mid­dle east l why move to the mid­dle east l best mid­dle east coun­try to work l work­ing in mid­dle east l mid­dle east culture

The Mid­dle East is a fas­ci­nat­ing region offer­ing mul­ti­ple career oppor­tu­ni­ties and attrac­tive des­ti­na­tions. The region is emerg­ing as a sig­nif­i­cant busi­ness hub in which many peo­ple have advanced their careers. The area is vast and var­ied, so relo­cat­ing does present some chal­lenges. The cli­mate, lan­guage, reli­gion, cus­toms and the new­ness of the region must all be dealt with while set­ting up a new life. With the right advice, you can tran­si­tion to a new phase in your life seam­less­ly and enjoy the time you spend in The Mid­dle East.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

Why Move to The Middle East?

- Opportunity

The major­i­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for expats in The Mid­dle East are found in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The UAE and Sau­di Ara­bia. The region is expe­ri­enc­ing a boom in many areas, par­tic­u­lar­ly in con­struc­tion and nat­ur­al resources. As the expat pop­u­la­tion grows to meet this demand, expat work­ers are being sought in indus­tries such as health, finance and edu­ca­tion. Many work­ers are attract­ed by the lucra­tive salaries and poten­tial­ly tax-free earnings. Expats are also reward­ed with pack­ages that include free or sub­si­dized accom­mo­da­tion, health insur­ance, sub­si­dized pri­vate school tuition for chil­dren and a return flight home once a year. The Mid­dle East offers flights direct­ly to many of the world’s major air­ports. The biggest air­ports in the Mid­dle East are trans­port hubs themselves.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

- Doing business

Work­ing in The Mid­dle East is not like work­ing from home. Those who enjoy the most pro­fes­sion­al suc­cess in the region are those who can adapt the quick­est. Keep an open mind. For exam­ple, work­ers raised on the phi­los­o­phy of effi­cien­cy and expe­di­en­cy may be frus­trat­ed in meet­ings that open with a lot of social plat­i­tudes and casu­al con­ver­sa­tion. This appar­ent time-wast­ing is part of the way of doing busi­ness in the region and is thought to cement per­son­al rela­tion­ships, which then devel­op into fruit­ful busi­ness rela­tion­ships. Maybe it’s too hot out­side to play golf!

- Employment

Des­ti­na­tions for con­struc­tion jobs are The UAE, Sau­di Ara­bia and Qatar, espe­cial­ly in project man­age­ment, quan­ti­ty sur­vey­ing and design engi­neer­ing. Qatar has increased its out­put in prepa­ra­tion for the FIFA World Cup in 2020. Health is anoth­er indus­try seek­ing expats, and jobs are avail­able, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Sau­di Ara­bia and The UAE. Emer­gency and inten­sive care skills are high­ly sought after, and nurs­es are in con­stant demand. Eng­lish lan­guage instruc­tion, and qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, is in high demand across the region for local and expa­tri­ate chil­dren. All of the coun­tries list­ed above recruit native Eng­lish-speak­ing teachers. A teach­ing pack­age com­mon­ly includes accom­mo­da­tion, insur­ance, flights and pos­si­bly free or sub­si­dized edu­ca­tion for chil­dren. Many teach­ers find they can send their child to a pri­vate school that would sim­ply be too expen­sive back home. Pro­mo­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties and career advance­ment are also much bet­ter for teach­ers in The Mid­dle East. Most inter­na­tion­al schools will fol­low either the British or the US edu­ca­tion system.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

- Work visa

Rules for work visas dif­fer from coun­try to coun­try, but the employ­er should orga­nize the work visa, or at least assist with the process of secur­ing a work visa. For teach­ers, in par­tic­u­lar, it is impor­tant to research the schools thor­ough­ly because there are some dis­rep­utable schools which can fail to source a work visa properly.

- Finding work

Job fairs are a pop­u­lar way for recruiters to source tal­ent to work in The Mid­dle East. These are often con­duct­ed in per­son, but many of them have start­ed to estab­lish online recruit­ment processes. Some indus­tries will com­plete the recruit­ment process before the employ­ee arrives in the coun­try (such as teach­ing). At the same time, in oth­er indus­tries, experts sug­gest that being on the ground and net­work­ing in per­son is advan­ta­geous. It is also believed that some employ­ers look for employ­ees of a cer­tain age or gen­der – so do your research.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

Some Things to Keep in Mind:

- Climate

The Mid­dle East is hot. The heat is gen­er­al­ly dry, and tem­per­a­tures are a shock to any­one mov­ing from cold­er countries. The Mid­dle East almost does­n’t have a win­ter, so expect warm weath­er all year. That said, the region is gen­er­al­ly arid, so the tem­per­a­ture does drop at night. Light, cool cloth­ing is best dur­ing the day, but you will need some warm cloth­ing as the sun­sets. Of course, if you’re relo­cat­ing for pro­fes­sion­al rea­sons, you will dress as your pro­fes­sion demands.

- Daily routine

Avoid the heat of the day. If you plan to exer­cise, social­ize or explore, try to do that in the morn­ing, late after­noon or evening. You can stay out of the heat and will also be reward­ed with beau­ti­ful sun­sets. Fur­ther­more, most of the local peo­ple have adapt­ed to this cli­mate over cen­turies, so if you head out in the morn­ing or evening, you’re more like­ly to see them and have the chance to expe­ri­ence local cus­toms. Drink lots of water. That is still the best way to sur­vive the heat.

- Religion

Islam under­pins the cul­ture of the region. Fri­day is a ded­i­cat­ed day of prayer, so the work­ing week and work­ing hours, as well as times for social­iz­ing, react accord­ing­ly. Also, the dai­ly lives of the local peo­ple change dra­mat­i­cal­ly dur­ing Ramadan every year, and this affects every­one in the region, even in a pro­fes­sion­al sense. As a major­i­ty Mus­lim region, the sale of pork is heav­i­ly restrict­ed. Think of it as a chance to kick your addic­tion to bacon and branch out into some­thing new. Sau­di Ara­bia is regard­ed as the most reli­gious­ly con­ser­v­a­tive of the Gulf states, and the social and cul­tur­al life for expats reflects this fact. In some loca­tions, reli­gious police enforce rules such as clos­ing times for prayers and appro­pri­ate dress, and expats are expect­ed to abide by all of these rules.

- Culture

Women will not enjoy the same free­dom or social stand­ing that they may be used to. Restric­tions for women include the way they are allowed to dress, their free­dom to trav­el alone and their sta­tus in society. Every­one is also expect­ed to think about the way they inter­act with peo­ple of the oppo­site gen­der, in any sit­u­a­tion. Also, women may find few­er oppor­tu­ni­ties in cer­tain indus­tries that are still entire­ly male-dom­i­nat­ed in this region. One pecu­liar­i­ty that new­com­ers will notice is the women-only check­out aisle at the super­mar­ket. At least they get women through the check­out more quickly! The grow­ing expat pop­u­la­tion has cre­at­ed a live­ly social scene. Sport­ing, artis­tic and social clubs have emerged. Many coun­tries have their nation­al asso­ci­a­tion, and there are nor­mal­ly many events expats can attend to have fun, unwind, net­work and pick up some local tips from those in the know.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

- Can I get a drink?

Rules and reg­u­la­tions dif­fer per coun­try, but you should assume that you can’t drink alco­hol with the same free­dom that you would back home. In some places, you sim­ply can­not drink alco­hol. In oth­er places, expats can pur­chase alco­hol from offi­cial loca­tions and take it back to their pri­vate residence. Most impor­tant­ly, you must respect local cus­toms and laws and seek reli­able advice from locals before hav­ing a drink.

- Language

Most peo­ple can get by with Eng­lish. Ara­bic is the lin­gua fran­ca of the region, and if you speak this lan­guage, or can learn it, you will inte­grate far more easily. Author­i­ties in the Mid­dle East under­stand that Eng­lish is an inter­na­tion­al lan­guage, so it is nor­mal­ly pos­si­ble to find some­one who speaks English.

- Housing

The stan­dard of hous­ing for expats in the region is nor­mal­ly very high. As dis­cussed ear­li­er, it can also be pro­vid­ed free or sub­si­dized. Build­ings are new, high­ly secure and well-fur­nished. Expat com­pounds tend to be self-suf­fi­cient, with shops, restau­rants and oth­er ser­vices on-site, which is a great advan­tage in a swel­ter­ing cli­mate. It is not uncom­mon for expat hous­ing to include an on-site gym or pool.

- Services

Most of the major ser­vices are avail­able in major cities. Hos­pi­tals, super­mar­kets and med­ical facil­i­ties are all on par with what one might be accus­tomed to. How­ev­er, if liv­ing out­side a big city, this may not be the case.

work in middle east l why move to the middle east l best middle east country to work l working in middle east l middle east culture

Last but not least

Mov­ing to a new place is chal­leng­ing. The unfa­mil­iar­i­ty cre­ates stress and doubt and throws up obsta­cles you prob­a­bly hadn’t even imagined. Mov­ing to The Mid­dle East is no dif­fer­ent. How­ev­er, this chal­lenge can be over­come if you keep an open mind. Accept that the region is dif­fer­ent in terms of cul­ture, lan­guage and cus­toms and that Islam is cen­tral to the lives of most peo­ple. Dress and act accord­ing to the heat and adjust your dai­ly rou­tine to suit. Research job oppor­tu­ni­ties and con­tact rel­e­vant recruiters or employ­ers, and you could land your­self a reward­ing and lucra­tive career with many benefits.
error: Content is protected !!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Furthermore, we will give a 15% discount on the next order from our shop after you sign up!

You have Successfully Subscribed!