Kuwait to see Major Drop in Expat Population
Although Kuwait is one of the world’s major oil producers and has attracted thousands of expatriate employees looking for a high wage and completely new way of life, the region has adopted a bit of an anti-foreigner stance in recent months. In an area where expats outnumber locals two to one, the government is taking a stand to protect the rights of the Kuwaiti people.
Earlier this year, as plans to reduce the 1.8 million expat population by 100,000 a year got underway, the government announced plans to get rid of the public service subsidies it offers to foreigners. The Kuwaiti government also responded to local complaints about hospitals being overcrowded by banning foreign residents from attending a major public hospital during the morning.
Foreign students and housewives have also been banned from driving on public roads.
As a consequence of local’s attitudes to foreigners Kuwait plummeted down the World Economic Forum’s listing of nations ranked on their friendliness to tourists and visitors. Kuwait now comes in at 137th of the 140 countries surveyed.
And it seems locals believe that their attempts to drive foreigners out of the Emirate are working.
In an online poll conducted by the Arab Times this week, 54 per cent of participants predicted a huge drop in Kuwait’s expat population over the next decade.
As well as the government’s new measures to promote the interests of locals, there may be revenue shortages and fewer expat job opportunities as a result of the discovery of significant oil reserves in the US.
Although the majority of those polled saw the number of expats falling, some asserted that the population in general would increase over the next ten years. One respondent commented; ‘The city will grow, and there will be more roads and bridges, and with the development plans underway, the country will gain back its former glory, getting to the top in the region.’
The poll also highlighted the fears some locals have about health standards in Kuwait.
Are you an expat living in Kuwait? Or have you ever visited the region? What kind of reception did you receive from locals?
Would these new government rulings prevent you from moving to the Emirate?
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