Kuwait ranked the worst country for expats to live in by an Expat Insider Survey. We take a look at the reasons behind it.
5 December 2016| Last updated on 16 July 2017
In the recent 2016 Expat Insider survey, Kuwait ranked the worst amongst 67 best and worst countries to live in as an expat. The survey takes a look at the quality of life, ease of settling in, personal finance and working abroad. Kuwait has been at the bottom of the list for three years in a row now and ranking worse every year.
It’s common for unhappy expats to be told “if you’re unhappy, leave!” However, it’s not always so black and white. Many don’t have much of a choice, such as having to join a family member or being the only income provider for a family and not finding work elsewhere. Some others just love the country and want it to be better. Criticising aspects of a place doesn’t necessarily mean you hate it, but rather that you wish it could improve.
Kuwait certainly has much to offer and has hosted millions of expats over the years. While there are undoubtedly many happy expats in Kuwait, here we’ll take a closer look at what could make it a struggle for many other expats.
Quality of Life – #65 out of 67
As a small country, Kuwait is not known for having many things to do. There are a selection of restaurants and shopping malls, but not much nightlife or activities be done.
Kuwait public transport is limited to buses and taxis. Driving can be intimidating as they have a very poor safety record on the roads. Traffic congestion can be extreme during peak times.
If you don’t have comprehensive medical insurance, public hospitals and clinics can be a nightmare. They're not free and the waiting time can be extremely long, especially since Kuwaitis will always get priority.
The Kuwaiti government has started the implementation of segregation for local and expat patients, as well as local and foreign medical staff, such as reserving certain times (ie mornings) for Kuwaiti nationals only.
Common courtesy is often overlooked. It’s not uncommon to find yourself waiting in line for a while and then have someone just cut in line in front of you. Many expats are treated like second-class citizens and racism is widespread.
There have been many reports of Kuwaiti police mistreating expats, especially if they don’t speak Arabic. Kuwait is also the only country that takes DNA samples from anyone who is living in or visits the country, sparking a lot of controversy about freedom and privacy.
There is a significant litter problem in Kuwait. Many people tend to throw things out from their windows and you’ll often see garbage overflowing into the streets of residential areas as the garbage bins aren’t large enough to accommodate the amount of people there.
Ease of settling in – #67 out of 67
Feeling welcome, friendliness and finding friends
In recent years, due to anti-foreigners backlash from locals, the Kuwaiti government has pledged to push out a large number of expats in the country, 100,000 per year for ten years to be specific.
Working Abroad – #61 out of 67
Job & career and work-life balance
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Additionally you cannot own a company by yourself, you need a Kuwaiti partner who takes 51% of the company.
Personal Finance – #56 out of 67
Saving and cost of living