Monday, February 05, 2018

(Didn't I say this?) Departure of expatriates seriously affects real estate market

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 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. 


xmido said...

I am working on my Immigration and leaving as soon as possible. Lived here my entire life, but honestly not worth it.

Anon said...

Well said

Anon said...

You've said it perfectly. I've lived here 15 years. At first I tolerated the arrogant behaviour at the residence renewal office. After all, it was only once in two years! But then it spread to the police stations, the hospitals and even the line for bread at the Irani baker where the "supreme beings" talk down to you or cut in line.

It's become so ridiculous that there are no qualms about publicly discussing - and putting into law - preferential treatment visiting hospitals during the day, buying electricity or petrol or cars, hiring nannies or even discussing imposing taxes on salaries.

I've lived here for so long I'm an outsider in my own country, but after 15 years of contributing to this nation's development, I'm increasingly unwelcome here.

Those who say "if you don't like it then GTFO, we can find 1000 people like you" simply don't get it - it's not just about the money! Even replacing the driver you look down on takes time. What about people with years of nation-building skill and experience? You can't throw money at someone and treat them like crap and then expect loyalty and silence.

I'm grateful that I've been able to earn and save money here, but there's a limit to how much I'm willing to tolerate for a steady salary.

So it's time to move on to a country that actually welcomes skilled immigrants. I'll save less money. I'll pay taxes. I'll get a mortgage. I will struggle. But my kids will grow up in a society that teaches them to value and respect others while feeling valued and respected themselves. And citizen or immigrant - apart from the right to vote - we'll be treated like everyone else.

I leave next month.

Sonia George said...

Yeah me too. I have lost the attachment with this country. I was born and raised here and i feel terrible seeing how things have changed now. I am not asking for a citizenship or anything. The least you can do is treat people with respect.

Jon Son said...

Sadly, too many countries are going down the same road these days. Their societies are becoming polarized and divided, with one side bullying the other. Those who feel uncomfortable in Kuwait and are able to move out will do so, but there are many who may be trapped by personal circumstance and can't move that easily. They will just continue to suffer in silence.

Touché said...

Respect is a lost notion nowadays among Kuwaitis treating each other. The younger generation is poisoned with supreme sense of entitlement for everything regardless be it deserved or not.

Unfortunately many are riding the wave and appreciating the non sense.

aijaz khalid said...

I lived in Kuwait for almost all of my 27 years, I still remember that during my younger years Kuwait was such a nice place to live in. Then they started treating Expats as trash like they want our money but do not want to be associated with us at all. My father lived in Kuwait for the past 40+ years, he was there during the Gulf war and escaped with my family by road. When Kuwait was liberated he was one of the first who came back to Kuwait so that he could help bring Kuwait Airways back to its feet. When he became the head of his department in the 2000's, he made sure that the department was one of the best states since mid 1990's. He was so good at the job that the company did not want him to leave at all when he sent in his resignation letter. He worked for another 5 years giving his all and when he decided to resign from the company for good, what was his reward? He was not paid his due's for 2 months during which they had shifted to a hotel to live in due to already vacating the apartment they previously lived in and other stuff. After seeing all the stuff my parents went thru after all they gave for this country. I feel extremely sad, disappointing and angry at this country. Yes Kuwait may be a great place to live in but they treat the expats who do all the work as crap and try to rip all dignity from them. So for me it's all good riddance to this country.