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Kuwait making it more difficult for expats to drive or thrive

Kuwaiti authorities have revoked the driving licenses of around 14,600 expatriates after they were found to have changed their jobs

Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population There are around 700 expats in the deportation center, awaiting departure Kuwait ranked last in the world, in 59th place, in the Expat Insider-2021 survey

Kuwaiti authorities have revoked the driving licenses of around 14,600 expatriates after they were found to have changed their jobs which does not qualify them to have licenses, a local newspaper said. 

The total number of driving licenses in Kuwait is estimated at 1.5 million including 850,000 held by foreign residents, according to Al-Rai newspaper. Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

In recent years, Kuwait has tightened regulations for issuing driving licenses to expatriates.  

According to Kuwaiti laws, the validity of an expatriate’s driver’s license is linked to the validity of the residency permit and are automatically revoked if their holders change jobs.

Read: Kuwait’s non-oil GDP growth a positive amidst weak economic data

Read: Kuwait in-fighting over corruption issues continues following passing of new budget

Expats deported

In the first six months of 2021, around 8,000 expats were deported from Kuwait due to several reasons, local media reported.

One of the main reasons is expired residency permits. Meanwhile, others were deported for being involved in misdemeanors and other crimes. 

Deportations also apply to residents whose behavior harms the public interest, security, and morals of the country.

There are around 700 expats in the deportation center, awaiting departure as they are unable to travel back to their home countries due to airport closures.

The percentage of Kuwaiti employees in the public sector has reached 81%, which is in line with the government’s Kuwaitization plans, Al-Qabas Arabic daily reported.

Expats leaving Kuwait on their own

According to an opinion poll conducted by the German InterNations network, one-third of the expatriates in Kuwait are planning to leave the country sooner than expected due to the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Kuwaitization policies, reports Al-Seyassah daily. 

Kuwait ranked last in the world, in 59th place, in the Expat Insider-2021 survey, which is published annually by InterNations with the aim of classifying countries on their attractiveness to those wishing to migrate to, reside, and work there. 

InterNations ranks the countries on the basis of 15 factors including quality of life, leisure options, travel, and transportation, ability to make friends, language, working abroad, job, and career. 

Kuwait ranked last in the world in terms of quality of life, leisure options, personal happiness, travel and mobility. 

It was considered “the worst destination for expatriates in terms of ease of adaptation and stability,” with 46% of respondents expressing a lack of ability to integrate into the local culture, and 45% affirming the difficulty to settle in Kuwait.

According to the survey, 51% of respondent expats expressed difficulty in making new friends, and 62% highlighted the difficulty in forming friendships with Kuwaitis in particular. 

Kuwait ranked 49th In the digital life aspect.

 The survey ranked Taiwan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Canada, and Vietnam as the best places for expatriates to live and work in 2021, based on the cost of living, ease of adaptation, stability, and quality of life in general. The United States was ranked 34th out of 59 countries.