Departure of expatriates seriously affects real estate market: Ghanem
Arab Times, 02/03/18
Kuwaitization policy, hike in service charges blamed
KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3: Secretary of Kuwait Real Estate Association Qais Al-Ghanem affirmed that the real estate market in the country has been seriously affected by the departure of expatriates, indicating that they had warned about this crisis last year, reports Al-Rai daily.
He said he is expecting the trend of expatriates’ departure to increase in June 2018, as they are either searching for better opportunities in other destinations or choosing to return to their countries of origin. Al-Ghanem explained that the recent pressures imposed on expatriates resulted in a large number of vacant flats especially in the investment residential sector.
The Kuwaitization policy, which is aimed at terminating the contracts of expatriates in the public sector and increasing the charges of services offered to them, and the announcement about a new tax system have contributed to the crisis.
A large number of expatriates are considering sending their families back to their countries of origin but keeping their residency valid, and choosing to stay in Kuwait as bachelors.
This trend will further worsen the current situation of the real estate sector. He said he is expecting the rents to drop after the decisions concerning expatriates are announced.
Al-Ghanem indicated that this crisis has not only negatively impacted the real estate sector but it has also badly affected the economic circulation, affirming that the real estate sector is one of the basic pillars of the economy.
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What they’re not saying is how expats are being treated in the country within the past 2 years. The expats with expertise and higher salaries aren’t going to care about price hikes. And many of us aren’t working in jobs where nationalizing our specific job categories/positions is an issue.
Why would I want to leave Kuwait? Because there is no longer JOY in the country. Joy has left the building. Why would I want to stay in a country where I’m not happy? What about QUALITY OF LIFE? All the talk is about they don’t want expats here, so why not leave to where it is happier? More freedom? Less checkpoints and ID checks and polarization? Less pollution? Less road congestion and construction? Less animal abuse?
All the talk is about “unifying the country” but there is no unity. That’s gone. The barn door was left open and all the horses ran out. If you really want to unify the country, squash the key lawmakers who are dividing the country. Get rid of all the negativity and bashing of all kinds (dividing not only expats from the community, but the division of Kuwaitis as well). Make Kuwait INCLUSIVE again rather than EXCLUSIVE. It’s not a club. And if it were, what would the membership stats look like? Why join?
Sheeeeeet, half the time you can’t even tell what activities are going on in the country because 1) there are no advertisements and 2) if there are ads, they are only in Arabic; excluding a majority of the population.
I received an e-mail from a reader and we had a discussion about how newcomers view Kuwait vs how those of us who have lived here for a few decades feel. From what I see, newcomers who will be staying maybe 1-2 years see Kuwait as an adventure; a place to take in and get out of. For those of us who have lived here a long time, it gets to you after a while and everything just accumulates. He said, “And of course...it works splendidly as anyone can tolerate that behavior (DG: expat bashing) for a day or a week or a month, but when you are living in a place year after year or (like you) decade after decade, it starts to wear you down, and eventually you just decide to leave...which is what you are saying is happening: some people are forced to leave under deportation orders, but more people are just getting tired of the aggressive and rude behavior that is prevalent, and they are saying "Thanks but no thanks, I'll go elsewhere." Yup. That pretty much sums it up.
Ok, so I’m going to get the usual, “Stop bashing Kuwait.” Point taken. However, I wouldn’t have stayed in Kuwait as long as I have if I didn’t love it. I just immensely dislike what is happening NOW to Kuwait. It isn’t the same as it was even 10 years ago. And yes, I’m just an expat voicing my (personal expat) opinion, but ask a Kuwaiti and see if the answer is any different. Are they happy? Are you happy? What can be done to make it better/turn it around?
Kudos to the grass-roots organizations that are popping up around Kuwait, doing the job that others SHOULD be doing to help bring good back: the lone environmentalists on social media. Organizations like Coexist, LOYAC, AWARE and TIES trying to bridge gaps. Second Chance and Operation Hope giving to the less fortunate in Kuwait. And all the small, unfunded animal rights groups that go out diligently day after day rescuing animals that are tortured or injured or dumped on the streets. (There are many more to add to this list.) It is a constant battle.