Considering moving to the Midd

Considering moving to the Middle East

The Middle East’s developing financial climate, favourable weather, rich and enveloping culture, and a wealth of experiences that can’t be found anywhere else have made the region popular with expats in recent years. The Middle East can claim a unique character and personality that many have fallen in love with, and growing markets that enable the career-focused to follow their dreams. Diving into such new experiences can be tempting, but there are a few things that would-be South African expats need to think about first…

Considering moving to the Midd

A land of opportunities

It’s fair to say that business is booming in the Middle East, with a wealth of new opportunities appearing for expats each year; those considering such a move need only look for examples of successful entrepreneurs heralding from the region to know that much is true.

Fahad Al-Rajaan, PIFSS’s Director General in Kuwait, is one such businessman, and his experience in the financial industry and the real estate market speak volumes for the variety on offer for anyone hoping to settle in the Middle East. With individuals such as Al-Rajaan at the helm of business, the Middle East has become increasingly accessible to foreigners, and real estate developments are emerging throughout the region; a perfect welcome for new arrivals hoping to boost their fortunes.

middle east

Embracing a new culture

While this region has so much to offer that can’t be found closer to home, South Africans making the move to the Middle East will need to be aware of a number of things before they go, namely the cultural differences they’re likely to encounter. It’s true that many areas within the Middle East have westernised considerably in recent years, but the region still follows Islam, and is governed by Sharia Law; women are often expected to dress conservatively, alcohol is not made freely available, and a certain level of respect is demanded in all public areas. It is essential that anybody considering a move to the Middle East conduct their research properly; the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are particularly liberal, but that won’t be the same for every country in the region. In addition to the cultural shock that many expats experience, those planning a move to the Middle East should also prepare for a wholly different climate, the difficulties that may arise due to leaving friends and family behind, legal differences in key areas such as employment law, and an eventual move back to South Africa – if that is, indeed, on the cards. The Middle East has become a land of opportunities, and a region where families can settle down and enjoy a new way of life, but it may come as something of a learning curve to begin with.

There is a growing expat community across the Middle East, and whether emigrants like it or not they are bound to bump into fellow South Africans while they’re settling in; the expat community is reassuring, welcoming, and, above all, hugely helpful to anybody making such a move for the first time. While the Middle East has a burgeoning economy many areas within the region are still considered to be developing. For this reason expats shouldn’t expect to maintain their previous lifestyles in their new home, but embrace a new way of living. It may involve a few compromises and getting used to, but the resulting experiences can be treasured for a lifetime.

Emigrating overseas, and settling on an entirely different continent, is becoming incredibly popular and, whether done for financial gains, career progression, or the opportunity to experience a different culture, can be incredibly rewarding for the whole family. While travelling to a region such as the Middle East will take a lot of consideration and research, there is no reason why such a move shouldn’t prove successful; those taking the leap are currently reaping the benefits of an amazing corner of the world.