World Economy
0

Tide Inexorably Turning Against Expats in Kuwait

Tide Inexorably Turning Against Expats in KuwaitTide Inexorably Turning Against Expats in Kuwait

As Kuwait introduces new rules and regulations as part of Kuwaitization, thousands of foreigners are either being laid off or restricted from taking up jobs in key sectors. While many expats are compelled to tighten their belts by resorting to the painful remedy of sending their children home, others are left with an even harder choice–leaving the country before things get worse.

While some are quitting Kuwait because they lost their jobs, others are doing it of their own volition in the face of a situation they call “beyond their control”, Albawaba reported.

As the number of foreigners leaving the country rises, the impact has started to ripple through the economy, affecting sales in almost all retail segments–from automobiles and garments to food and beverages and household goods.

“For decades, Kuwait remained an Eldorado for expats, especially for Asians. Not anymore. I think it is time we folded up,” said Riyas Ahamad, an Indian engineer working with an oil company in Ahmadi.

According to Expat Insider, Kuwait ranked last in a global poll about working abroad. Respondents reportedly considered a set of indicators including quality of life, ease of settling in and overall general satisfaction. Kuwait came 68th, a position it already held from 2014 to 2016, while it came second to last in 2017, the report said.

Large-scale retrenchments are taking place in the private sector too. As part of cost-cutting, private universities and schools are firing expats while organizations and hotels are easing out expat staff as part of their new strategy to become “lean and mean”.

Many Asian schools admit, albeit secretly, that a large number of parents have opted to take transfer certificates of their wards to relocate them to their home countries amid radically “deteriorating financial conditions”. Several others are sending their families home as they find it hard to balance their monthly family budget.

“Be it the exorbitant fees for medical services, high petrol prices, new visa regulations or taxation moves, the tide is inexorably turning against expats,” said Alfred Williams, a lecturer at a private university in Kuwait.

“In most consumer segments, there is a palpable drop in sales. Usually there is a lull in sales during summer, but this time it has been higher,” an executive at a supermarket said on condition of anonymity. However, he said no official estimates are available yet for the quarter.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com