Moving to the Middle East


Flag icon for Bahrain
Flag icon of Iran
Flag icon of Israel
Flag icon of Kuwait
Flag icon for Oman
Flag icon for Qatar
Qatar: Doha
Flag icon for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Jeddah, Eastern Province
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 nearly myth-like  assumptions that they’ll be endowed with massive tax-free salaries, larger 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.  

Articles about the Middle East

Dubai Marina - Expat salaries in the Middle East

Expat Salaries in the Middle East

A healthy economy thanks to its rich oil reserves, accompanied by tax-free salaries and generous employment packages have continued to attract expats to the Middle East over the past few decades. Learn about what to expect from an expat assignment to the Middle East.
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Schools in Dubai: An Expert Guide

Plan in advance and apply early. That is the overarching advice to any family investigating their options when it comes to education and schools in Dubai. Free local education in not open to expats who are not local Emiratis or citizens of a nearby Islamic country and so...
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Teaching Careers in the Middle East

In recent years the Middle East has grown into the leading region in the world for international schools. As a result it is now attracting experienced teachers looking to combine travel and adventure with professional development and career enhancement...
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A mosque in Saudi Arabia to denote religion and worship in the Kingdom

Religion and Worship in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country governed by a strict interpretation of Sharia law. This governs virtually all facets of life, with customs and traditions in Saudi based on the tenets mentioned in the Qur'an...
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Koran to denote culture shock in the Middle East

Ramadan for Expats in the Middle East 

More than any other time though, Ramadan can be a challenge for newcomers.  As the Muslim religion’s holiest month of the year, it’s more important than ever that expats temper their behaviour...
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Woman in Middle East

Women in Saudi Arabia

At first, the thought of moving to Saudi Arabia, may scare some women. Initially, questions about the maintenance of personal freedoms immediately come to mind...
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Paperwork for a work visa in Israel

Five Tips to Getting a Work Visa in Israel

Obtaining a work permit in Israel is no piece of cake, be prepared to be patient, determined and organised in order to survive the stress of the application process and square away this legal requirement.
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Man doing business in the Middle East

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia – Modern Business the Ancient Way

In a complex culture such as Saudi Arabia communicating effectively can be challenging for expats, but very rewarding when done successfully...
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student at an international school in the Middle East

Expert Advice on Choosing an International School in the UAE

Principal of Gems American Academy of Abu Dhabi Ian Deakin sheds some light on the international school selection process for expat parents moving to Abu Dhabi...
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Perking the Pansies - book about life in the Middle East

Book Review: Perking the Pansies

Jack and Liam, a gay couple, are fed up with working life conditions in London and so decide to move to Turkey.Perking the Pansies is an extremely funny and very entertaining story not only about adventure, but also about love, betrayal and even murder...
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Saudi Arabia Packing List

Moving to Saudi Arabia – Expat Packing List

While shopping in Saudi Arabia is taken very seriously, with large malls, weathered souqs and high-end boutiques in most major cities, there will be some items that you’ll absolutely need to bring from home... 
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