In this week’s Arab Times online poll, voters weighed in on the negative occurrences for which expatriate communities are targeted. A majority of the respondents felt that expats as the cause for high rents, was most prevalent.41 percent of respondents felt that expatriates were the reason for soaring rents. “The large expatriate population is the reason rents in the private residential real estate market are escalating. They also tend to cluster within their communities instead of branching out, creating these pockets where rents are steep for no other reason”, a reader shared.
“There are so many illegal expatriates living here. Apart from South Asian expatriates there are a lot of Western expatriates working in the country on a visit visa. If there were an exodus of these illegal residents, we could expect more vacancies in housing and a subsequent fall in rents”, another reader expressed.
Another 24 percent felt that expatriates don’t spend enough money in the Kuwaiti market. “Expatriates in the Gulf are sending an outstanding sum of money to their home countries. A report published on this estimates that to be around $100 billion and about 6.2 percent of the combined GDP of the GCC”, a respondent told the Arab Times.
Another voter shared, “While this high rate of remittances in the Gulf can be maintained as GCC countries charge no income tax on salaries paid to expatriates, it must be kept in mind that there are restrictions on what foreigners can own and invest in, this crowds out investment opportunities for expatriates.”
22 percent blamed expatriates for illegally buying visas and another 10 percent felt that expats bribing officials for driving licenses was wrong. 3 percent blamed expatriates for the increase in food and commodity prices. “We have a big problem of visa trading in this nation. If every expatriate came here to work through the right channels, most of our problems wouldn’t exist.”
“The government has been consistently coming up with new rules and directives concerning driving licenses to curb traffic. But expatriates just pay KD 200, go through a mock test and come out with a license, irrespective of their ability to drive”, a reader pointed out.