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Retiring and Pensions

Bahrain - Retiring and Pensions

It is now possible for expats who have lived and worked in one of the Gulf States (GCC states) for more than 15 years to settle permanently in Bahrain. In order to qualify they must also have a minimum of BD 40,000 in their bank account. This is a system of self-sponsorship, so that expats do not need to find a sponsoring company to oversee their move to the country.

The idea of the scheme is to encourage retired people who are familiar with the gulf region and who can support themselves to settle in the country. They can also, if they choose, invest a minimum of BD 40,000 in a local or commercial business. Those who have been living and working in Bahrain for 15 years have been able to do this for while and the scheme has now been extended to cover those who have worked in other GCC states. They are entitled to a five year residency permit which is renewable.

There are a number of criteria which must be met by the retiree. They must have a good reputation and no criminal record. They should not have been in any trouble with the law while staying in a GCC state. The residence of the retiree should be rented in his own name. They must be able to prove that they can support themselves financially, so evidence of a regularly paid pension would be required. They are also required to have private medical insurance and undergo a medical examination to show they are in general good health.

This residency permit does not allow the retiree to take any kind of job while they are in Bahrain, although they are permitted to buy and sell shares as a form of earning income.

Those who are entitled to receive a state pension from their home country should check with that particular pension department to see how it can be paid to them while they are in Bahrain. If monies cannot be paid directly – and this will depend upon the country – then they will have to be paid to a bank account in their home country and transferred by the retiree. The same applies to private pension schemes. Expats are not permitted to pay into or claim monies from the Bahrain state pension scheme.

Quality of life for expats is very good. The cost of living is a little lower than in most western countries due to the tax benefits of living in Bahrain, although some accommodation costs may be high due to the number of modern developments in the country. There are a wide range of leisure activities on offer in Bahrain so there is little chance of boredom.

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