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about the Bahrain

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Bahrain is a small archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, East of Saudi Arabia and North West of Qatar. The country was virtually a British protectorate from 1861 until 1971, when it gained independence and since 2002 has been a constitutional monarchy with a 40 memberparliament. Also in 2002 women were granted the right to vote and the first female cabinet minister was appointed in 2004. Bahrain has
gradually become increasingly liberal in its human rights, particularly freedom of expression, with opposition groups and campaignershaving a strong voice.

Although Bahrain was one of the first countries in the Gulf to exploit its oil reserves, it never reached the high levels of production as itsneighbours did, so was forced to diversify the economy, which has led to the building of such structures as the Bahrain World Trade Centreand Bahrain Financial Harbour.

There have been running tensions between Sunni and Shi’ite Bahraini Muslims, which has caused civil unrest at times. 

 

factfile

  • Full name: Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Population: 791,000 (UN, 2009)
  • Urbanized population: 791,000 (UN, 2009)

Ethnicity:

  • Bahraini

    62.4%

  • Non Bahraini

    37.6%

  • Capital: Manama
  • Area:717 sq km (277 sq miles)
  • Major language:Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam (81.2% of population)
  • Monetary unit:1 Bahraini dinar = 1,000 fils
  • Main exports:Petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum
  • GNI per capita: US $24,379 (WB 2013)
  • Internet domain:.bh
  • International dialling code:+973
  • Time:GMT +3
  • Life Expectancy:230
  • Nomadic/ Semi-Nomadic population:2000

useful information for expatriates

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    Climate

    Bahrain benefits from year-long sun, which is a major attraction for tourists to the islands. The summers are hot and humid, averaging 32-35 degrees between May and October. Autumn and spring are much milder, averaging around 20-28 degrees. The winter months, from December to March, vary from 15-25 degrees. Rainfall is very low, averaging about 75mm over 10-15 days per year..

    For more information download pdf
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    Electricity

    230V 50Hz. Outlets accept plugs with two parallel flat pins and one ground pin.

     

public holidays

Muslim holidays are set according to local sightings and lunar phases. Therefore each year they fall on slightly different days. These are:

  • 30 Dec: Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

  • 30 Dec: Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)

  • 06 Jan: New Year Day

  • 07 Jan: Islamic New Year

  • 13 Jul: Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

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    Cost of Living

    The cost of living in Bahrain is one of the lowest in the GCC, with competitive utility and wage rates (which are of course tax free), while still maintaining a high standard of living.

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    Hospitals

    Bahrain has excellent health care services, with well-trained practitioners and advanced facilities. There are three private hospitals which offer a full range of medical services and four government run hospitals. There are also 19 regional health centers and five maternity hospitals which support the hospitals.

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    Schools

    • Lycee Francais de Bahrain
    • The International School of Choueifat
    • Bahrain School
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    Driving

    Driving is on the left hand side of the road , and UK and US licenses can be used in Bahrain for three months, and an international license for a year, although this length varies depending on the nation it was issued by. Otherwise a Bahraini license is needed. This can be applied for at the General Directorate of Traffic in Isa Town, either by taking a driving test straight off or signing up for driving tests (although instructors may ask for a minimum number of lessons). A Bahraini ID card is needed before a license can be applied for.

    • Shopping

    Shopping

    Bahrain’s shopping consists of the traditional souks and modern shopping centers and department stores. The biggest of these is the Seef Mall, an indoor shopping and entertainment center, which comprises of more than 40 specialty stores, 7 department stores, and over 300 outlets.

    There are some western-oriented supermarkets selling imported groceries, such as the Alosra Supermarkets and convenience stores, which are popular among expatriates and wealthy locals for the quality and freshness of their produce, and imported goods.

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    Residence Permit/Work Visas

    To obtain a residence permit, the applicant needs a sponsor, i.e their employer to apply for it in their behalf. It is easier for a man to obtain a permit, who can then apply for a family visa for the rest of his family. However, if the wife also wishes to work in Bahrain she needs to apply for a separate visa. All members of the family should have a separate passport.

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