Business Environment

COUNTDOWN TO Newroz 2023

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Living & Working In Kurdistan


Erbil, also known by its Kurdish name, Hawler, is the capital of Kurdistan and has a population of 1.5 million. Erbil is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with life in the city dating as far back as 6000 B.C. Erbil is far from what you’d expect from an Iraqi city, with shopping centers, high rise buildings, and fancy hotels everywhere.  Erbil’s spectacular ancient citadel is a highlight for everyone visiting the city. A UNESCO World Heritage site offers a wealth of sightseeing opportunities.


The name Kurdistan literally means Land of the Kurds. In the Iraqi Constitution, it is referred to as the Kurdistan Region. The full name of the government is the Kurdistan Regional Government (often abbreviated as the KRG).


Health services are readily available in Erbil. There are both privately run, and government funded hospitals in Erbil that cover a wide range of specialties. The number for the ambulance service is in Kurdistan is 122


Foreigners should try to avoid travelling outside of Kurdistan, as other regions of Iraq and borders with neighboring countries can be very dangerous. It’s advisable for all visitors to carry an ID with them everywhere they go, to avoid being detained by the local authorities. Taking photos of checkpoints and military personnel is strictly forbidden and could lead to confiscation of a camera/ smart phone and potential detention. The emergency number for the police is 144-124-104. Many overseas businesses are using Erbil as their Iraqi base due to strong presence of government security.


Erbil is the hub of Kurdistan’s oil and gas industries and is the nation’s most profitable export. In addition to this, tourism is currently booming and FDI in the trade has increased significantly in the last few years which has seen tons of luxury hotels popping up all over the city. Investors have also taken a key interest in the lucrative agriculture, education and communications sectors.  All these factors have led to Kurdistan having one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with the past ten years witnessing a steady GDP growth of between six and ten per cent


Visiting Kurdistan for the first time you will notice that its most prominent geophysical feature is mountains. The mountains are very important to Kurds. They have not only shaped the history, people, tradition and culture; they have also been used more practically as hide outs for Kurdish Peshmerga’s and guerrillas fighting oppressing regimes. There are many rivers running through the region, which is distinguished by its fertile lands, plentiful water, and picturesque nature.


The Kurdistan Region has a population of more than 5 million. In these past years the population has gone up to almost 7 million due to violence in Iraq and Syria. The KRG currently shelters millions of refugees. Worldwide there are roughly 40 million Kurds. In Turkey they make up for about 25% of the population. In Iraq 15%, in Iran 10% and in Syria about 9%. Besides that there are also a large number of Kurds living in the diaspora.


Nowruz, the celebration of the New Year, on March 21 is considered to be the most important event in Kurdish society. For the people in Kurdistan Region of Iraq and in the rest of Iraq, Nowruz is the symbol of revival, happiness, colorful and vibrant life. It is the celebration of victory over tyranny and, in recent years, another occasion for people to enjoy peace and harmony.


Kurdish people have upheld the tradition of carpet weaving for centuries. The most popular patterns include florals, medallions, Mina Khani motifs, and geometric patterns. Some ruge weavers also use symbols to depict their dreams, wishes, and hopes. They beauty of Kurdish designs is enriched by colors, which include deep blues, greens, terracotta, and burnt orange hues.


Kurds are tolerant in general and known for their respect for other cultures and religions. The majority of the people in the Kurdistan Region are Sunni Muslims. There are also a large number of Christians of different churches, such as Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian and Catholic Chaldean. Thousands of Christian families have fled violence and threats in other parts of Iraq and found refuge in the Kurdistan Region. They are welcomed here with open arms.


The climate of the Kurdistan Region is semi-arid continental: very hot and dry in summer, and cold and wet in winter. Spring is the most beautiful season in Kurdistan. On the first day of Spring Kurds celebrate ‘Newroz’, the Kurdish New Year. The temperatures range from 13-18 degrees in March to 27-32 degrees in May. The summer months from June to September are very hot and dry. The warmest months are July and August. Degrees can get up to 35-47 Celsius. Winter temperature varies based on geography. It can get as low as -15 in the highest mountains.


  • Erbil International Airport
  • Sulaymaniah International Airport


The Iraqi dinar is the currency of Iraq. It is issued by the Central Bank of Iraq. On 18 December 2021, the exchange rate was IQD 1,483.5000 = US$1. Banknotes: 1000, 5000, 10000, 25000, 50000 ISO codeIQD


The shortcoming of traffic law has negative impacts on traffic safety improvement. Visitor and tourists are more likely to be involved in serious or fatal crashes. Traffic safety manuals are outdated and incompatible with international standards. The lack of unified driver license programs.

Living & Working in Iraq


Iraq is mostly desert, but it does have regions of alluvial pains and mountains situated between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The volatile political climate and its extreme weather make living in Iraq as challenging as adventurous for expats. However, while Iraq may not be at the top of expats’ lists, many might be surprised by the opportunities available as a result of the country’s post war revival.


Most expats will find themselves relocating to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris River. Expats living in Iraq are generally housed in secure compounds which are relatively secure. The general standard of the accommodation in these compounds is comfortable and includes facilities to keep residents entertained such as gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and shops.


The cost of living in Iraq is not too high and expats are generally well remunerated. Despite this, leisure activities tend to be expansive and expats may find themselves paying large sums towards utilities such as water and electricity. While rent, transport, groceries and general shopping are not expensive in Ira, they are not exactly cheap either. As a result of ongoing security issues in Iraq, the expat community tends to be small and self-contained.


Expats who have not yet previously lived elsewhere in the ME may struggle to adjust to the climate of Iraq. The country is mostly desert where winters are cold and wet and summers are dry and hot. The mountainous regions along the Iranian and Turkish borders experience a freezing winter with heavy snowfalls.


Expats considering moving to Iraq will have to consider safety risks involved, as well as the possibility of having to leave their families behind. If expats can get past the negative images in the media, however they are likely to find life in Iraq to be interesting and financially rewarding.


Federal Parliamentary Representative Democratic Republic


The governorate of Baghdad is the smallest governorate of Iraq and the most densely populated with a population of about 8 million people. The security of the governorate is controlled both by the Baghdad Operations Command, which draws its members from the army, the police and the intelligence services, and Shia militias, which are described as growing stronger.


Approximately 40 million




Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria




Ambulance     122
Fire                   115
Police              104


GMT+3 (UCT+3)


220/230 V, 50 Hz, Type C, D, G plugs




Iraqi Dinar (IQD)


Not expected, but a small tip is always appreciated as wages in the services industries in Iraq are low

Iraq & Kurdistan's Fauna

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Iraq & Kurdistan's Flora

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Iraq & Kurdistan's Culture

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Iraq & Kurdistan's Cuisine​

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