Expat life toughens up in Saudi Arabia and UAE

Published:  9 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, Australia, UAE
Expat childrens’ education, the necessity of making a Western will and the difficulty of integrating with local people are making the Emirates an expat nightmare.

As private school fees soar and expat kids are now barred from state schools, legislations over expat iqmas is threatening even continuation at private education facilities in Saudi Arabia. Parents’ iqamas must be valid for the length of the school year or their children will be banned form attending classes until a new one is arranged.

Iqamas can take along time to process, unless an expat has powerful friends who can expadite its issue. Opting for a private education is getting more expensive year by year as schools raise their fees and fewer places are available due to wealthy Saudis taking them for their own children.

In the UAE, expat workers are being advised that they should make a will according to the laws of their country of origin or risk having Sharia law applied to their assets if they die intestate. At present, only around 20 per cent of expat workers in the emirates have taken the necessary steps to protect their dependents,

Expats in the UAE who wish to integrate into the local culture and find Arab friends are having a hard time for several reasons, the main one being that permitted expat housing compounds are far from local districts in which foreigners are not allowed to live. Non-Muslims find it impossible to set their roots in authentic communities.

Another reason is the preponderance of expats in the UAE, outnumbering Emiratis by as much as nine to one and making it difficult fro the two ethnic groups to get together. The cultural and social aspects of integration aren’t getting any easier either, with Saudi Arabia leading the field in its Saudization attempts to minimise the expat community and the rest of the Emirates struggling to follow suit.
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