Bahrain has beaten a host of regional competitors to be the best destination for expats to work, live, and raise a family in the Middle East and North Africa in the 2019 InterNations Expat survey, consolidating its leadership position from 2018. Judges praised the Kingdom's welcoming culture and relaxed lifestyle, cementing the country as a haven for expats – with strong historical ties to the financial services and real estate industries and an increasingly strong standing in the technology sector.
In the InterNations survey, Bahrain finished first or second in the region across all the key metrics. It came first in the region for 'ease of settling in', 'quality of family life' and 'cost of living', which is very favourable when compared to GCC neighbours. A 2018 KPMG survey found living costs were 70% lower than the most expensive place in the region. Equally it costs up to 50% less to educate children than in neighbouring countries.
Bahrain ranked second in 'personal finance', "working abroad' and 'quality of life". The personal finance metric covers an individual's financial situation and level of disposable income – indicating that expats in Bahrain are among the wealthiest in the region. The working abroad criteria covers three areas – career prospects and satisfaction, work and leisure, and economy and job security, indicating that expats in Bahrain are comfortable, secure and have a strong work/life balance. The InterNations Quality of Life Index tracks expats' opinions towards their leisure options, their health and well-being, safety and security, and personal happiness.
With globally-recognised hotels, shopping malls and restaurants and an expanding entertainment choice, including the new "Dive Bahrain" underwater theme park with a submerged Boeing 747, Bahrain is an emerging lifestyle destination. New developments such as Bilaj Al Jazayer, one of the biggest beach front developments in Bahrain's history, are adding to the island's attractions.