Moving to the Middle East


THE MIDDLE EAST

Flag icon for Bahrain
Bahrain
Flag icon of Iran
Iran
Flag icon of Israel
Israel
Jordan
Flag icon of Kuwait
Kuwait
Lebanon
Flag icon for Oman
Oman
Flag icon for Qatar
Qatar: Doha
Flag icon for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Jeddah, Eastern Province
Syria
Flag icon for Turkey
Turkey: Istanbul
Flag icon of Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai

Moving to the Middle East


The notion of relocating to the Middle East is often replete with images of barren deserts, domed mosque tops, and women cutting through the afternoon heat in full-length, black abayas. Not to mention, those moving to the Middle East are often enamoured with almost myth-like assumptions that they’ll be endowed with massive tax-free salaries, large luxurious villas and countless perks to endear them to life in a place that, allegedly, suffers from social conservatism and bouts of political turmoil.

While these stereotypes do ring true to a certain extent, it’s important to realise that expat life in the Middle East is not cookie-cutter, but rather, each country claims its own unique personality and characteristics; not to mention, each nation has its own relationship with foreigners.

So, yes, the climate in all Middle Eastern countries may be hot and arid, and for the most part, most countries can claim positive economic growth thanks to large reserves of crude oil (at one point the Middle East was credited with two thirds of the world’s oil reserves), but expats will need to be mindful of falsely based expectations. Though the cost of living is reasonable in most nations – Tel Aviv is the most expensive Middle Eastern city – the lucrative expat salaries of past are not what they used to be.

Furthermore, the gravity of the Muslim mandate and tolerance for “western” ways apply differently in each country.
In short, it’s important to do some research on your future expat destination, and to make sure you have some base of information established before you move to the Middle East.  

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