Moving To Brunei As An Expat In 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Expat moving to Brunei will find a small, tropical country to live in. With just a population of over 400,000 residents, you’ll definitely enjoy this place. In fact, Brunei has one of the highest living standards in the world, just like the Cayman Islands. The country is booming, and thanks to its thriving oil and gas industry.
As of today, we can tell you thank Brunei has the highest expat contingent of around 40 percent of the country’s population. With the prospect of lucrative employment, packages have enticed most foreigners, the standard of living, educational system, infrastructural facilities, and more, the benefits of living in this country cannot be overemphasized.
However, new arrivals are sure to experience some culture shock. I’m sure you might be wondering why cultural shock, right? If that sounds like a yes, have it in mind that this country is strictly an Islamic nation. So, be expecting yourself to dress modestly, and also refrain from physical contact between members of the opposite gender in public.
Not only is that, but it’s worth noting that any sexual contact or compromising behavior between non-Muslims and Muslims in the country can lead to severe punishment and deportation in this country. In this case, you need to be wary of the rules and regulations. Would you love to know more about Brunei?
Of course, many people will understand the cultural shock and still want to live in this wonderful country. Have you been surfing the internet to get the right information about Brunei? Worry less, and look no further! We have compiled everything you need to know in this article. Continue reading to get the full details.
Brunei Economic Overview and its System
While Brunei is a small nation, there are many things you need to know about this country. In fact, the country boasts an incredibly wealthy economy, largely down to its international relations, and widely known as oil deposits. This way, each day, around 167,000 barrels of oil are produced in the country.
Similarly, about 25.3 million cubic meters of liquefied natural gas are also produced. Aside from that, this country is the fourth-largest producer of oil in Southeast Asia, and it’s even one of the wealthiest countries in the world as of today.
Meanwhile, other income from overseas investments helps the country. Besides, most of these investments are managed by the Brunei investment agency, a department of the ministry of finance in the country. More so, this money is being used by the government to pay for all medical services, among others.
Given the makeup of this country’s climate and environment, it should be noted that they relies heavily on import. This way, many foods, and their supplements are brought into the country. And with a recent estimation, around 60% of its required goods are imported, with 75% coming from the Asian countries.
Over the few years, this country’s leaders hope to increase the workforce and reduce unemployment. However, they planned to grow the banking sector and the tourism industry to make the small nation become famous, just like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is hoped that in the next few years, there will be a rise in the tourism and banking industry of the Brunei nation.
With the information above, many expats now see this country as an excellent place to work and earn without disturbance from any third party. More so, Brunei’s placement as a bridge between Europe and Oceania means that it is a perfect hub for anyone looking to spread their business across continents.
10 interesting facts You Should Know about Brunei
It’s no doubt that Brunei is a small nation, but it has many things you’d never think of. This country is found in the northern portion of the island of Borneo. Not only is that, but it has one of Southeast Asia’s wealthiest economies. Many exciting facts would make you visit this nation. In this section, we will walk you through the exciting facts about Brunei. Without further ado, take a look at it below.
1. Home to the Largest Residential Palace
This is one of the first things to put into consideration about this small nation. According to research and experience from some of our expatriates, the Istana Nurul Iman is the formal residence of Brunei’s Sultan. Aside from that, it also serves as the seat of the country’s government.
Additionally, this palace is located in a picturesque landscape on the banks of the Brunei River. Again, it is worth visiting because the palace has about 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, a lovely mosque, a garage with space for 110 cars, 5 swimming pools, a massive banquet hall, and many others, to mention a few.
Not only is that, but this palace has a total floor space of about 2,152,782 square feet. With this, the palace seems to be the world’s largest residential palace as per the Guinness World Records.
2. Home to an Entire Settlement Supported By Stilts
Have you ever seen a settlement supported by Stilts on a river before? If you answered no, this is one of the things that’d surprise you in this country. Often dubbed as the Venice of the East, the Kampong Ayer is a historical settlement on the Brunei River, and it flows past the Bandar Seri Begawan city of the country.
Not only is that, but the most interesting feature of this place is that it has houses and other buildings supported by these same stilts standing over the water. With that being said, research also disclosed that the buildings are interconnected by walkways and bridges, creating a contiguous settlement. Meanwhile, it contributes to one of the best tourists attractions in the country.
3. First Country to Ban Shark Finning
This is another interesting fact you need to put into consideration. If it sounds weird, you should know that this has happened in the past, but the fact still remains the same. Shark finning is a cruel practice in the country, which is detrimental to many species of sharks.
In June 2013, as research disclosed, the country became the first Asian country to ban shark finning. And surprisingly, it was a move applauded by conservation organizations worldwide. But according to this ban, no shark species could be caught or have landed in the waters of Brunei Darussalam.
4. Home to the Biggest Amusement Park
When talking about amusement parks in Southeast Asia, you don’t have to think twice before you mention Brunei. Besides, Jerudong Park is an amusement park that was established in the country back then in 1994.
This park is located in Jerudong and with a whopping $1 billion that was spent in amusement construction; you should know that it’s the best, though the government fully funded it. And with this unique construction, this amusement park is regarded as the largest and the most expensive park in Southeast Asia.
5. Home to World’s Most Picture-Perfect Mosques
I’m sure you might have been thinking about the United Arab Emirates or the beautiful mosques in Saudi Arabia, right? Of course, they all have beautiful mosques. But, we can tell you that this country remains the best picture-perfect place known in the world.
Moreover, this Brunei’s mosques are well-known for their elegance. Not only is that, but traditional and futuristic elements are perfectly blended in the architecture of these mosques. A good example is the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque that uses a mixture of Mughal and Malay elements in its design.
6. Home to Second -Longest Reigning Monarch
The sultan of Brunei is known to hold the position of the second-longest reigning current monarch. Hassanal Bolkiah, the current leader of Brunei, ascended the throne on October 5, 1967, as result disclosed. And with over 50 years of rule, he’s the world’s second longest-reigning current monarch after Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
7. Home to World’s Rarest Wildlife Species
If you travel to this country for the first time, don’t be surprised to see the rainforest with some of the rarest wildlife species. Many people might see Brunei as a small country, but it has managed to conserve 70 percent of its rainforests despite development pressures.
In spite of this fact, the forests in this country are home to some of the most threatened species you would ever think of. For example, the Sunda clouded leopard, flying lizards, saltwater crocodiles, and many others, to mention a few are some of the country’s most notable wildlife species.
8. Billionth Barrel Celebration
For the fact that the country is notable when it comes to oil production, the locals and the entire nation choose to celebrate it. The production of oil and natural gas in Brunei accounts for 90 percent of the country’s economy. This implies that they only rely on crude oil as their major source of revenue.
Furthermore, the onshore oil field at Seria in Brunei is one of the country’s most popular and important oil fields. Besides, in 1991, a monument called the Billionth Barrel Monument was built to celebrate the production of the Seria oilfield’s billionth barrel of oil.
9. Sultan has the Final Say in Brunei
Unlike in the western world, where the president has to present the project to the senate and other bodies before his project would be approved, it’s quite different here in Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei is the absolute monarch of the nation. And whatever he says is the final, with nobody questioning his authority. Also, he serves as the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister of the country.
On the other hand, Brunei does have a parliament, but no election was held in the past several decades. Not only is that, but the country’s legal system is based on both Islamic Sharia law and the English common law. So, we can say that the latter supersedes the former in many critical cases.
10. No Income Tax Payment
Since Brunei mostly operates on Sharia law, it’s no surprise that the citizens of this country do not pay income tax. Moreover, we can tell you that Brunei happens to be one of just 13 countries in the world that has an individual tax rate of zero percent.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Brunei
Once you’ve located Brunei, its size, population, and many other things, you need to understand why the country remains the lead in Asia. With the country wholly reliant on its oil and gas production, the benefits of living in this country cannot be overemphasized. Without further ado, below are the pros and cons of living in this small nation as an expatriate.
Finding Fellow Expats is Easy
Finding fellow expatriates is relatively easy in this country. Unlike in says Dubai, foreigners are in the minority because they are few, and with the Sharia laws, it’s quite difficult for people to relocate. On the other hand, the foreign community mixes well in Brunei.
In fact, you’ll likely see most of the expatriates speaking English, having social contacts with Bruneians only go to work and school. But a particularly enjoyable customs and tradition for foreigners to share is the open house visitation. Aside from this fact, you can be fortunate enough to be invited to a traditional Malay wedding, which is an essential aspect of Brunei culture.
Opportunity to Enjoy the Country’s Nightlife
Another thing you’ll enjoy while relocating to this country is the nightlife. Although they follow strict restrictions just like other Islamic nations but you’ll enjoy the life it offers. Meanwhile, non-Muslims may import limited quantities of alcohol for personal consumption, but you’ll still find most beaches suitable for sunbathing or water sports.
Good Healthcare System in Brunei
This also contributes to another benefit of moving to this country. If you’ve never been to Asia, I’m sure you’d love to visit this country. This is because; expats feel more confident about the country’s healthcare system. Also, there are hospitals in every district, along with about ten health clinics and 16 health centres dotted about the capital and largest city. This way, you’ll enjoy visiting the country.
Transportation in Brunei
Transportation in Brunei is second to none. Moreover, the population is linked by a network of roads stretching to about 1,700 miles. Currently, the 84-mile highway has been upgraded to a dual carriageway to ease the flow of traffic between these two important financial points. Also, you don’t have to worry about traffic while traveling to any destination of your choice while living in this country.
High Standard of Living
This is another thing to put into consideration while moving to this country for the first time. Sometimes, you might expect to see something good, but it could turn out to be negative. Notwithstanding, worry less if you find yourself in this nation because the standard of living is what you’ll certainly love. From infrastructures to social standards, low crime rates, and more, you need to give Brunei a trial.
Cost of Living in Brunei
As said earlier in this article, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this nation with everything it has to offers. Brunei has a relatively low cost of living. That being said, it is more expensive than its neighboring countries. Regardless of this fact, expats in Brunei will earn well and will afford a comfortable lifestyle and a high standard of living.
Good Educational System
While the educational system in Brunei is still young, it’s of a high standard. Besides, it’s continually growing, and thanks to the large government investments in the country. Moreover, English is the main language, and Brunei is taught in Malay. Nevertheless, expats generally opt to send their children to international schools so that they can continue with a standard curriculum, and that’s why Brunei is exceptional.
Good Natural Environment
Brunei’s natural environment provides much to keep families busy outside of work and even in school settings. With an extensive coastline packed with beaches and an abundance of gorgeous rainforest, there’s plenty to occupy the time of families that enjoy exploring the outdoor activities in this country.
Weather Conditions & Climate Change
This could be one of the most significant challenges you’ll ever experience as an expat moving to Brunei for the first time. This country is a tropical rainforest climate that is characterized by hot and humid weather, with plenty of rainfall. However, the country doesn’t experience a dry period, but it has two monsoon seasons each year, from December to February and June to October.
Meanwhile, expats moving to this country may need to make some adjustments to their lifestyles and overcome elements of culture shocks. Besides, you may likely be rewarded with a high standard of living and an array of new opportunities in the country.
If you’re not a Muslim, and this is your first time traveling to a Muslim nation, you might experience a cultural shock. And this is exactly what may happen to you during your first visit to Brunei. This is why; we recommend you to make enough research before catching up on a flight to this small country.
Strictly Alcohol Consumption
The same rule that applies to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic nations is what happens in this country as well. You’ll hardly see hotels that sell alcohol or other things against Islamic religion in public. But, an excellent way to see people selling alcohol is if they are being given a license from the government.
Frequently Asked Questions about Brunei
Is Brunei a safe place to live?
Undoubtedly, Brunei is one of the best places to live as an expat. In fact, if you’re enterprising and resourceful, living in Brunei can be a very comfortable and enjoyable experience for you. While the government has promoted this small nation as the kingdom of unexpected treasures, be ready to explore the entire country in just one day.
How can I stay in Brunei?
There are different ways to stay in Brunei as an expat as of today. Meanwhile, if you need to stay longer than your visa allows, then you might have to apply for a Brunei visa extension at one of the local immigration offices in the country. Moreover, if you’re visa-exempt and know before traveling to this country, all you need is to apply for a visa at the embassy.
Can I dress like the Western world in Brunei?
If we get the questions right, you probably want to dress like how the Americans do? If that sounds like a yes, remember Brunei is an Islamic nation. Here, we will advise you not to wear shorts but instead, stick to lighter fabrics. Meanwhile, to get into the significant mosquitoes in Brunei, you’ll be given a garment.
How can I get Brunei citizenship?
There are many ways to get Brunei citizenship in today’s 21st century. Some of these ways include; naturalization; acquisition of Bruneian citizenship is only possible through marriage or adoption. This may warrant the foreign spouse to register for citizenship after ten years residency in the country.
Which language is common in Brunei?
While the standard language in this country is Malay, the Brunei Malay variety is more widely spoken. Besides, it is substantially different from Standard Malay and is spoken by about thirds of the population. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry if you come from a western nation because you’ll definitely see people speaking English everywhere.
Can foreigners work in Brunei without disturbance?
Of course, foreigners can work in the country without a doubt. On the flip side, those who intend to work in the country must have a valid employment visa authorized by the department of immigration and national registration. It must also be issued at the Brunei Embassy. So, if you’ve wanted to make Brunei your next destination, ensure you have the necessary visa requirements to meet up.
Moving to Brunei is nothing but the best choice for ex-pats looking to experience the Asian lifestyle. Information for expatriates about moving to this beautiful country has been revealed above. Though it’s a small nation, but the country boasts an incredibly wealthy economy because of the crude oil. Nonetheless, follow this platform for more information about Brunei.