KUWAIT: A global index has listed Kuwait as the worst place for expats based on a survey it did for 2022 and covered only 52 countries around the world. Kuwait not only ranks last in the Expat Insider 2022 survey overall, but also in the bottom 10 of each index, reads the report published by InterNations.
Kuwait is rated worst in terms of Quality of Life and Ease of Settling In (52nd for each): for example, expats are unhappy with the natural environment (65 percent vs eight percent globally) and feel that they cannot openly express their opinions (57 percent vs 18 percent globally). They also perceive the local residents as unfriendly (44 percent vs 17 percent globally) and rate their social life negatively (50 percent vs 26 percent globally).
The Working Abroad Index (51st) does not look much better, the report reads. Expats are unhappy with their career opportunities (39 percent vs 22 percent globally) and their work-life balance (37 percent vs 19 percent globally). While Kuwait ranks 49th in the Expat Essentials Index, it performs best for Personal Finance (45th): 76 percent of expats feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs 72 percent globally). Overall, 37 percent of expats are happy with their life in Kuwait.
Aside from Kuwait, the bottom 10 expat destinations in the list include (in order) New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Italy, and Malta. The top 10 expat destinations include (in order) Mexico, Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.
Worst quality of life
Kuwait offers the worst quality of life, according to the survey which features 52 destinations with a minimum sample size of 50 respondents. It places last for three out of five subcategories – Leisure Options, Travel and Transit, and Environment and Climate – and ends up in the bottom five for Health and Well-Being (51st) and Safety and Security (49th).
Expats feel mostly safe in Kuwait (79 percent vs 81 percent globally), but there’s a “poor infrastructure” and the country is “not eco- friendly”, according to a British expat. Not even a third (31 percent) rate the availability of green goods and services favorably, for example (vs 64 percent globally). And 22 percent give the availability of public transportation the worst possible rating (vs 5 percent globally). In comparison, India at least receives good results for Health and Well-Being (19th).
Kuwait also comes last in the Ease of Settling In Index (52nd). It is the very opposite of Mexico, placing last for each subcategory and rating factor. Among other things, expats are unhappy with their social life (50 percent vs 26 percent globally). They perceive the local residents as unfriendly (44 percent vs 17 percent globally) and do not feel at home (56 percent vs 21 percent globally). “The locals here aren’t as friendly as in other Middle Eastern countries,” complains an expat from the UK.
Kuwait ranks 51st in the Working Abroad Index and last overall. Expats are especially unhappy with the business culture in Kuwait, landing it in last place in the Work Culture and Satisfaction Subcategory (52nd). The majority disagrees that the business culture encourages creativity (62 percent vs 26 percent globally), supports flexibility (53 percent vs 19 percent globally), or promotes independence (67 percent vs 28 percent globally). Only 65 percent of expats in Kuwait see a purpose in their work (vs 78 percent globally). Nearly twice the global average (37 percent vs 19 percent globally) are unhappy with their work-life balance, and 26 percent are dissatisfied with their working hours (vs 17 percent globally).
‘Negative’ job market
While moving to Kuwait has improved some expats’ career prospects (53 percent vs 60 percent globally), close to half (46 percent) rate the local job market negatively (vs 27 percent globally). And around two in five (39 percent) are unhappy with the personal career opportunities (vs 22 percent globally). “There aren’t many business opportunities here,” an expat from Egypt says.
What is more, a third of the expats in Kuwait (33 percent) rate the job security in the country negatively, and just 48 percent agree that they are paid fairly for their work (vs 20 percent and 62 percent globally). Despite all this, 65 percent are still happy with the state of the local economy, about as much as the global average of 64 percent.
In the Expat Essentials Index, all Gulf States, except for Kuwait, make it into the top 10. Number Bahrain makes life abroad convenient regarding language and admin topics, while fellow Gulf State UAE (2nd) shows very similar strengths. Kuwait (49th) is one of the worst-rated countries in this index, largely due to Admin Topics (50th) and Digital Life (47th). Its best result is a 29th place for Language. Kuwait also falls in the bottom three in the Health and Well-Being Subcategory (51st) alongside the United States (50th) and Ireland (52nd). Meanwhile, the list ranks Kuwait last in the ability of expats to openly express themselves and their opinions; even worse than China which ranks 51st.