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Kuwaitization having no effect on cost of living for expats?

Kuwait has just been revealed as the most affordable GCC country for expats.

According to a recent survey by Mercer, Kuwait occupied the last place among the GCC countries and 122nd place in the world in terms of living costs for expatriates, while Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh topped the chart among the Arab cities, Arab News reports.

With these statistics, Kuwait is considered the best place for expatriates to live in terms of expenses, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

But was it always sunshine and rainbows for expats in the country?

READ: Dubai stocks lowest since 2016, Kuwait market on the rise

A complete 180-degree turn  

These latest findings come in direct contrast with the laws being put in place regarding the expat population in the country.

Back in 2015, Kuwait was named as the worst country in the world for expats to live and work, based on a study by InterNations.

Kuwait ranked the worst for leisure options, personal happiness, ease of settling in, friendliness and finding friends. To top that off, it was the second bottom for quality of life and feeling welcome.

READ: Expats in Kuwait facing the worst as Kuwaitization keeping foreigners jobless

According to government figures by the Public Authority for Civil Information, there are 3,130,463 non-Kuwaitis in the country, representing 70% of the population. This figure could be cut down in the coming years, however, as a new law going into effect this Sunday will ban the recruitment of expat professionals holding top university qualifications if they’re below 30 years of age.

This is part of the country’s Kuwaitization plan to employ more nationals and cut down on the population of expats.

The general consensus among expats on the new Kuwaitization laws being put in place remains one of uncertainty and concern for the future. These latest results, however, bring forth an interesting conundrum.

In Mercer’s study, Dubai took 26th place globally and Beirut 65th position, while Kuwait city occupied the fourth place among Arab cities preceded by Cairo, Rabat, and Casablanca respectively, while Manama, Amman, Doha, Jeddah, and Muscat occupied the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th places in that order.

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