Your guide to doing business in Bahrain
Along with competitive costs, easy access to the rest of the Middle East and a well-established business infrastructure, you will find that Bahrain has experience in understanding the needs of foreign businesses and responding to them.
The government regards foreign investment as key to its Economic Vision “2030 long-term plan” for improving the competitiveness of the economy, creating skilled jobs for Bahrainis and enhancing living standards. For this reason, the Bahraini Government is committed to building on their existing advantages, aiming to build the Middle East’s most attractive centre for business.
The company is required to have a legal entity established in order to process a payroll. Some industries are prohibited in Bahrain (for example, gambling or the import and industrial use of restricted chemicals) whilst some industries are protected for investment by Bahraini Citizens; GCC citizens and Companies (for example, a diverse range of industries ranging from printing presses, accounting services and the import / export and sale of racing car fuel)
There are several types of company entities in Bahrain including:
The Commercial Registration of companies can be done at the Bahrain Investors’ Centre. The processing time for registering a business is estimated to be between one to three working days and must be renewed on an annual basis. For some commercial activities a licence or approval is required.
It is mandatory to make payments to both Employees and the authorities from an in-country bank account. Bank opening days and hours vary from branch to branch.
Generally opening days are Saturday – Wednesday or Sunday to Thursday and general opening times are from 07:30-13:00 and then 16:00 – 18:00.
The working week in Bahrain tends to vary between 40 and 48 hours depending on company policy. Office hours are usually from 08:30 or 09:00 to 17:30 or 18:00. There are no differences in time keeping between summer and winter. In the month of Ramadan, the working day is reduced to six hours and legally this should apply to all staff but many companies only apply it to Muslims who fast during daylight hours.
Friday is the Muslim rest day and if your company has a five-day working week the other day off will probably be either Thursday or Saturday. Saturday is the more popular choice for international companies as taking Thursday off would mean a reduction in the number of operational days in common with much of the rest of the world. Conversely, other companies insist on Thursday as the school ‘weekend’ is Thursday and Friday.
Full name: Kingdom of Bahrain
Population: 1,324,000 (UN, 2011)
Major Language: Arabic
Major Religion: Islam
Monetary Unit: 1 Bahraini dinar = 1,000 fils
Main Exports: Petroleum and petroleum products, aluminium
GNI per Capita: US $15,910 (World Bank, 2010)
Internet Domain: .bh
International Dialling Code: +973
Good morning صباح الخير
Good evening مساء الخير.
Do you speak English? هل تتكلم بالإنجليزية؟
Good bye وداعا
Thank you شكرا
See you later اشوفك بعدين
As there are no income tax obligations in Bahrain there is subsequently no tax year. There are no tax deductions in Bahrain, however employees do contribute towards social security. Bahraini Nationals contribute towards GOSI (General Organisation for Social Insurance - a type of ‘pension’). Also, there is a regulated minimum salary for Bahraini Nationals (based on job description). The GOSI contribution for expatriates is paid by the company.
There is no individual income tax in Bahrain.
Employers who employ more than ten employees, irrespective of their nationality, must pay 10% of the employee's gross income to social welfare taxes. The employer's contribution is 7% of gross wages for insurance against old age, disability and death (applicable only to Bahraini employees) and 3% of gross wages for insurance against employment injuries (applicable to all employees). The employee's contribution is 5% of gross wages for insurance against old age, disability and death (applicable to Bahraini employees only). Monthly social security contributions must be paid by the 15th of every month. The penalty for late payment is 5% of the outstanding/due amount in accordance to SIO (Social Insurance Organisation) law, article No. 31.
As there are no income tax obligations, there is no monthly, quarterly or annual reporting to be adhered to.
Employers must register their employees in the Kingdom of Bahrain with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and receive a certificate of registration. The employer must also register it’s employees with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) and contributions must be paid monthly for compulsory insurances against old age, disability and death (for Bahraini employees only), and against work-related injuries including death (for all employees). When an employee is hired the employer has to enlist with the Pension Authority. This is generally managed by the legal firm and/or representative that are responsible for the legal registration of the company. Each legal entity had guidelines stating the deadlines for registrations.
On the termination of employment of a foreign national two things must be considered.