Kuwait brings in new prohibitions affecting expats’ lifestyles

Published:  7 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: South Africa
Three new prohibitions aimed at expats living and working in Kuwait could be the beginning of the end for the popular relocation hub.

Kuwait’s luxury lifestyle has long attracted expat professionals looking to further their careers, many of whom have brought their families along for the ride. One much-valued convenience, especially for trailing spouses, is being able to afford domestic helpers and child minders, but a recently announced new law now prohibits expats from hiring help in the home. The given reason behind the decision seems to be that demand from foreign households is relatively low compared with the demand from the local indigenous population.

Another bizarre attempt to restrict foreigners from participating in Emirati life is the banning of expatriates from local fish auctions, a move which might hit hard on expat chefs wanting to ensure their customers were dining on quality ingredients at the right price. The raft of rules aimed at Kuwaiti bidders seems logical in the main, but for expat-owned restaurants it may mean increased costs and decreased quality.

An earlier story focused on July’s eviction of ‘bachelors’ – unmarried expatriate males – from a total of 119 homes in developments designated as private residential areas. Prior to the evictions, electricity to the affected properties was cut off, with the evictions part of a push to free up a total of 558 houses in similar areas. Although the exact reason for the evictions hasn’t been stated in the local press, the impression is that Kuwaiti females are at risk whilst single expat males are living in close proximity. Those evicted could be forgiven for seeing the move as Kuwaitization gone mad.

At present, one area where expats can shop till they drop is still available and provides a cultural experience as well as low prices. Kuwait’s popular Turkish market is a favourite with locals and expats alike, providing ingredients and foodstuffs at the cheapest prices, although shoppers are warned to check the expiry dates on the products in order to avoid food poisoning. This and other Kuwait street markets not only help expats manage their budgets in this expensive expat location, but also give an experience of the different cultures living together in the city.
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