Dismal Kuwait expat survey ranking criticised in Arab online media

Published:  13 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, India, UAE, Jobs, England
Kuwait’s recent ‘worst destination for expats’ ranking in a major expat survey seems to have struck a chord in an online UAE news outlet.

After Kuwait’s relegation to 64th out of 64 nations surveyed for the second year running, the ranking achieved viral status as local and international media comments made sure the world’s expat community was aware of the emirate’s downsides. According to the survey results, expats would be better off in Russia, Nigeria, India, Turkey and even the UK than in Kuwait. Even more galling was the fact that another Arab state, Bahrain, was rated the best in the region for non-Arab expats.

Whilst it’s true certain Kuwaiti parliamentarians take every possible opportunity to hit out at the local expat community, it’s assumed a professional expatriate survey might well take this into account. The emirate’s appalling ranking seems to have been the result of the opinions of a good number of mainly Western expats living and working in Kuwait, with the possibility that long-term fear of job insecurity might have coloured the expat experience. Kuwaitization is well under way, making it no surprise that expats may well feel threatened by prejudicial comments in the country’s parliament. Even so, the ranking has resulted in Arab expats from the region taking offence and speaking up for their own experiences in the emirate.

One such former expatriate female’s article in the Kuwait Times wonders exactly how the ranking was established, citing the fact that 70 per cent of the emirate’s population are expats and asking why they all stay rather than finding jobs elsewhere in the world. Some, she says, have lived in Kuwait for 50 years or more, adding the survey doesn’t take account of the average duration of expat stays. She also questions responses to the ‘making friends’ question, in which the country came third from last, saying Kuwaitis are famous for their hospitality and suggesting the responses might be from expats whose only contact with Emiratis is at government departments.

She also suggests next year’s survey should take into account how many years respondents have lived in the state as well as their source of income and several logical reasons why they’re unhappy but haven’t yet left. She admits Kuwait isn’t an ideal destination for expat professionals, but points out its benefits such as safety and security, tax-free salaries, the beaches, family-friendly things to do and community organisations. Sadly, her last comment involves an accusation of biased claims rather than suggestions of ways and means to reassure expats who’re less than happy about Kuwait’s perspective on overseas workers, rather than demonising them in parliament and the local press.
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