Stricter driving laws in UAE to cause problems for expat professionals

Published:  18 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, UAE
Seen as yet another hit on expat professionals living and working in the UAE, the new driving regulations include a limit of five years on expat driving license renewals and two year licenses for new drivers in the emirates.

Expat professionals with several years’ service or more in the UAE could be forgiven for feeling less than welcome these days, with new regulations on several fronts including healthcare and driving likely to cause difficulties, especially for those with families. To make things worse, the Kuwait administrative count is to consider a case brought by a local lawyer urging expats should be banned from the roads until the government has found a way to cope with the appalling traffic congestion.

The court case mirrors calls from newly appointed lawmaker Safaa al-Hashem, who recently called for a one-year ban on expat drivers for the same reason. The court will hear the new case on May 8, although general opinion believes it will be rejected and sent to appeal, ending up in the supreme court. It’s also true that public opinion is against al-Hashem’s stance, but several lawmakers are on he side.

The continued pressure on expats by lawmakers as well as the hi-so element of Kuwaiti society is likely to be a consideration for expat professionals when deciding whether or not to take up an admittedly lucrative position in the emirates. Not being able to drive to work, take the weekly shopping trip by car and drive the kids to school is certain to cause annoyance and inconvenience for expats already working in Kuwait, especially as it’s the never-ending road works which seem to be causing the congestion.

Expatriates may feel there a choice between feeling unwelcome and being inconvenienced and simply getting another job in another country which offers a more welcoming environment. It’s not their fault if Kuwait’s population is made up of 70 per cent of expats and 30 per cent of Kuwaiti citizens, and those who decide it’s time to move on can’t be blamed for their decisions.
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