ulf States worst hit by pandemic as expat professionals leave

Published:  2 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE
Out of all world economies affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Gulf States are considered to be the worst hit.

Due to the region’s reliance on oil prices, the Gulf States are seeing a free fall in their economies as well as an unprecedented expat exodus. According to the International Monetary Fund’s bleak predictions, the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain are expected to lose 7;6 per cent of their revenue, in both the non-oil and oil sectors.

Of course, the major impact on the collective region’s GDPs will be in the oil sector, as price falls this year have already cost some 10 billion US dollars. By the end of 2020, the loss is being calculated at $20 billion with Saudi’s state-run Aramco’s profits to date down by 25 per cent. For expat professionals working in the sector, it’s a disaster, exacerbated by the pandemic and causing expat job losses at an unprecedented scale. The region’s growing tourism market has also been hard hit by both covid-19 and the related oil price crash.

For many years, the Gulf States were a highly desirable expat location for a number of reasons including high salaries and an enviably luxurious lifestyle. Although the bulk of departing expats are from semi-skilled and unskilled sectors, the numbers of highly-qualified professionals who’re now leaving for more stable locations are increasing by the month, causing a glut of empty homes as well as falling rentals.

In Kuwait, politicians who’ve always spoken against the presence of any foreign workers at any level are more than happy with the trend, but don’t seem to understand the effect of a massive loss of skills and experience on the emirate’s long-term economy.
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