In Kuwait, ‘too many foreigners’ becomes a frequent refrain

Post by Mark

The Associated Press published an article yesterday on how the new Jaber Hospital will only be for Kuwaitis and also how in general, Kuwait is becoming a lot more aggressive towards expats living here while also making their lives more difficult. The article got picked up by The Washington Post as well as a number of other international publications. This is obviously not something new, but the fact it’s being brought to light by foreign press makes me wonder if more of this negative publicity might actually result in the government backing down and easing things on expats.

Expats in Kuwait have been feeling unwanted for years but with the government recently being pretty trigger happy with deportations, expats probably feel unwanted now more than ever. It’s why expats are always looking for an exit plan. To top it off, the antiquated sponsorship system, the lack of permanent residency and the lack of ability to purchase a home or fully own a business just add to this unwanted feeling.

Check out the article in The Washington Post [Here]

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53 comments, add your own...

  1. Shabz says:

    Wait for the trolls !!!!! GTFO coming !!!!!

  2. jazz says:

    thats why i left the country 3 years ago.. my family has been in kuwait for more than 30 years and they dont have the right of permanent residence or as you said to purchase a home.. my family has served this country for a long time i think this is unfair and disgusting to be honest…its 2017

    • . says:

      Not only that but by working here, you are contributing to the economy of the country. People who say “stay or GTFO” don’t realise that we don’t live here for free or on the governments money. The ignorance of those people is as of a sorry state as the government’s treatment towards us. I try having a conversation on the permanent residency topic with my close friends and the discussion is cut in short with “it’s their country they can do what their want”. It’ like we as expats don’t care or just have accepted that’s our fate. I really wish Kuwait can change for the better. I see so many open minded Kuwaitis here who are very friendly, welcoming & are very aware about Kuwait’s current situation. Also, there are ministers who are very pro-expats and want to change how expats are treated but they’re a very few of them to cause an impact. Change will come, but it will take some time.

      • Nasser says:

        Kuwait have other hospitals for foreigners and foreigners are getting medicine for little close to nothing and alot way less than what they really cost

        In other countries you should pay for your health insurance and it’s way more expensive, and Kuwaitis deserve their own hospital and foreigner have their own hospitals and there are hospitals that are shared by both too.

        • Mohd says:

          Dear Nasser, you are correct if we don’t pay mandatory free for medical insurance. As long as it is mandatory, it should be equal service. no where in the world has this strange model!

  3. Kuwait says:

    This article is also published verbatim in today’s Kuwait Times:

  4. Mike says:

    Basically, Kuwait would like a slavery system in which it has people to do all the jobs it’s own people either do not want, or are incapable of doing, whilst giving them no benefits or looking after their welfare in any way.

  5. Just Wondering says:

    Does that mean they will only hire Kuwaiti doctors? It’s not going to make sense for them to be treated by an expat at this particular hospital …. Right??

    I was born here and love this country but why are they doing this!!!!?
    Hopefully they will change their minds it’s just not a human thing to do specially at a hospital

  6. Saeed says:

    I was 21 when I came to Kuwait as soon as i finished my graduation, it has been 15 years working here with dedication and hard work. I am married and have kids. My father expired and now my mother needs my support< i cannot bring her to Kuwait, the visa is valid for 1 month and there's no possibility of getting a residence for her. Tried through vaasta, did everything. I call her, she stays for one month, then I have to send my family with her. Again apply for visa, request the manager, again call them, again send back after one month. When I go for extension, no support , for residence, they say that if really want to stay with your mother, go back !!! So, I am forced to send my family to live with my mother permanently and now living a bachelor's life. Manytimes I think that I did a mistake coming here and eventually I am being forced to either go back to my country which is new to me after spending such a long time here and difficult to adjust or choose Australia or Canada to migrate.

    • KS says:

      Do you consider the majority of Kuwait’s population to be Kuwaiti, ‘expats’ or economic migrants? Isn’t this the condition that most current right wing European and American citizens are voting for in their own countries? Citizens and taxpayers (social security contributors) first

      Yes, offer government funded healthcare services to those who have contributed to the system but why for everyone else for free just because they managed to get into the country.

      • Saeed says:

        It is not the matter of free, make services available from human point of view and charge it!!! If someone really needs that service, let them pay and take it !!! For my case, I need a residence visa for my mother, charge 1000kd-2000kd yearly for that, i’m willing to pay, why stop it ??? I have been living in Kuwait since 15 years and as far as i can recall, I may have went 15-30 times to take medicines for the seasonal flu !!! My mother was her around 15-20 times in this period and Alhamdulillah never utilized any medical facility from any clinic or hospital !!! Maybe if parents require any medical treatment due to their age, charge it or put an insurance scheme in place or force us to buy any private insurance on yearly basis, I don’t have any issue for it.

        • Ahmad says:

          You’re willing to pay 1-2000 kd per year to get her here…. while you claim that you will gladly pay the medical bills, most assholes that pay 1-2000 to come here abuse the healthcare system ( and end up selling medicine on facebook) and milk the system , since whatever they pay is cheaper than their healthcare bills. That’s the bigger picture.

  7. SV says:

    On a completely unrelated post, Mark what camera do you use while travelling besides the phone? If you’ve posted it before, I can’t find it.

  8. Banzin says:

    The main consider people are forgetting to mention is that Kuwait is a rentier state, which by definition pays you to live and never ask for money which makes it extremely care who should and shouldn’t get citizenship.

    I understand it’s not easy to live in a country that doesnt want you but a few governmental law adjustment should fix the issue. For example, an expat can get his own work visa without needing (kafel) but in return pay taxes to adjust the governmental incentives , this way everybody is happy!

  9. A says:

    I think expats should stop whining about not getting access to this hospital given the fact that they don’t pay taxes and still have access to cheap healthcare from other public hospitals.

    If expats want better healthcare they could still get health insurance and access better private hospitals, BTW like they would have to do in most other parts of the world.

    I agree that there’s a LOT that Kuwait could and should do better for it’s expat population, but in this case the sense of entitlement is really unwarranted.

    • rambondo says:

      Excuse me? we dont pay tax? What about the compulsory medical insurance? in addition to paying a fee for every visit to the hospitals clinics?

      The residency fee we pay is not considered a tax either?

      • A says:

        Umm yes you do not pay taxes like income or sales taxes like you would do in most other countries.

        Compulsory medical insurance? Do you mean the KD 50 annual fee and the KD 1 fee you pay per visit as per the article? That doesn’t even compare to the kind of premiums you would be paying in say the US. In fact the government subsidizes most healthcare costs for expats in Kuwait, so on a cost basis you should actually be paying MORE for the services that you are now using.

        Residence fee? Do you mean the KD 10 annual renewal fee? Are you even being serious??

        Sorry to burst your bubble but your sense of entitlement can only go so far.

      • Banzin says:

        Oh wow… you pay no more than 70KD a year and you call that tax?

        what about the 2 fils per Kilo watts ? the fixed phone bill ? the 1 KD all medical expenses ?

        stop trolling

        • KS says:

          I am a Kuwaiti, I get a compulsory deduction of 200kd off of my monthly salary for my social security payments, of which tax is included..and I pay 500kd per month for rent! Of which the 2 fils per kW is included, and 5kd per medical visit is compulsory with medical insurance!

          • Banzin says:

            None of which you just mentioned is tax by any sense of the word.

            The 200 is for 401k retirement plan
            The 500 is for rent, you could find cheaper else where
            The 5 KD medical visit is from a private sector, what we are discussing is governmental health sector which is 100% free (excluding the 1kd you pay for a private room)

            you choose to go to private and you choose to pay that rent, the government isn’t taking 1 fils out of what you mentioned, how is that a tax ?

    • jazz says:

      the point is..this shit shouldn’t be brought up in the first place…a public hospital means its for the public..if you make all the residents pay for mandatory health care then they should be allowed access to all public hospitals at all times..the main reason why people had enough with this is the continuous/and obvious disregard for expats

  10. Jim says:

    The Hospital should also be staffed and run by “Competent ” Kuwaiti Doctors ,Kuwaiti Nurses and Kuwaiti para medical staff .. can be a 100 percent Kuwaiti run institution which will showcase the local talent and expertise in all fields

    • KS says:

      Yes it should be and hopefully will.. The best doctors and nurses I have ever dealt with/met/been a patient with in Kuwait have all been Kuwaiti

    • meh says:

      Believe it or not, Most of the time Kuwaiti doctors are a lot more competent than any other nationality in Kuwait.

  11. Anwar Kh. says:

    amazingly we still love Kuwait with all this hate in the air ha ha ha

  12. GTFO says:

    What KS is saying is for all expats to GTFO!
    Kuwait will run with Kuwaitis only!

  13. aaa says:

    I think a big part of it is it’s kind of impossible to have a reasonable debate on this issue without SOMEONE getting upset. I’m Kuwaiti and half of my friends are expats, I work in the private sector so 95% of my coworkers are expats, and I’m generally against expat-targeting laws and actions the government comes up with once in a while.

    At the same time, it’s not really normal that 2/3 of the country are foreigners – for entry level jobs, pretty much anyone can be trained to do them but private companies decide it’s cheaper to fly someone over from another country and pay him a terrible wage rather than just hire young out of college Kuwaitis (who are increasingly becoming unemployed btw – the government can no longer provide instant jobs to all the new graduates)

    In the past they used to solve this issue by taking select amounts of doctors, professors and people setting up policy and just making them Kuwaiti, such an easy solution

  14. Bassem Youssef, the Egyptian satirist, said something the other day that resonated very strongly with people,

    “Muslims are afraid that Trump will treat them the say they treat minorities in Muslim-majority countries.”

    No, I’m not Hindu or Indian, I’m Arab with a Muslim background, fuck off trolls. Stop stereotyping. Even if I was Indian (dil mera ekk Hindustani), who cares?

  15. Sunita says:

    Was going through all the messages above. Kuwait economy is on a downward spiral. Having said this how much of sense it would require to open other sources for generation of revenue? Strong examples would be : issuing Visas,building an estate for expats to invest in like Dubai.
    As usual no deep analysis goes into making any kind of rules and to top it all they cannot survive without us. Would they clean the roads, pick up the garbage and be a househelp? No ! Never!
    So brace up Kuwait and change the way you think. Shape your future sensibly.

    • aaa says:

      “As usual no deep analysis goes into making any kind of rules and to top it all they cannot survive without us. Would they clean the roads, pick up the garbage and be a househelp? No ! Never!”

      Could you stop using this argument, it cheapens the contribution expats make to Kuwait. You’re basically saying all they’re good for is cleaning up after others. All of these jobs will be automated in 20 years anyway, so yes, Kuwaitis will be able to do them because they’ll just turn on the self-driving cars and self driving garbage trucks.

      The main contribution expats make is in high up leadership positions, where they have irreplaceable experience that the local market does not.

  16. shabz says:

    Make quick money!!!! sow seeds of a good income in your desired dream country… and GTFO!!!!! there is no free lunch.

    stop whining….

    and in case if any one wants to say that not everyone has equal opportunities, well answer to those is STFU and live with it.

    Facilities for the underprivileged is by far the best in Kuwait.

  17. Foreigner who left kuwait says:

    I was born and brought up in Kuwait in the 80’s and have enjoyed my childhood in Kuwait, my parents made a life for themselves back home by working hard for the companies that they were employed for over 30+ yrs. I myself have worked in Kuwait after graduation for 5 odd yrs.

    Times have changed and no one likes change, but change is inevitable.

    The problem is the change has not been uniform across the board. It has become increasingly difficult to sustain a family on the salaries that are paid, increase in groceries, increase in tuition, increase in everyday expenses have made it difficult.

    The expatriate community should have seen these signs and thought smart and moved back to our native countries and continued to live comfortable lives.

    If we choose to live in Kuwait then we need to either better our salaries by applying for the higher paid jobs and pray to God that you get selected for it, or drop our standard of living, both of which are not doable with the current situation in Kuwait.

    Either way the government has been making it clear for some time now that they do not require the help of the expatriate community living here and have clearly forgotten how it was them that helped rebuild the city after the Gulf War; but then again, the government might also be thinking that they have paid their debt to the expatriate community by giving them a tax free life all these years and that they have done their part.

    Now its time to take control of the country by ourselves and not depend on the expatriates for any help.

    Time for everyone to get on board and stop whining about the dwindling facilities for expatriates or get out and go home, where things might or might not be better.

    Time for some tough choices.

  18. Unboricuaenq8 says:

    So I have read all these comments and to be honest lately, I have been hesitant in leaving any comments due to the fact that you will always have trolls. Also by the very nature of these types of posts you will have confrontations without trying to understand each other. I believe that I have a certain perspective coming from a background that while being born with so called US citizenship I don’t have all the rights that other citizens have and am treated as a foreigner. Also, the fact that in Kuwait I am an actual foreigner yet am married to a Kuwaiti female gives me a certain perspective. I hear both sides of the argument yet understand that both side have some truth as well as exaggeration.
    As a foreigner living in Kuwait I have experienced discrimination yet its not as bad as what I experienced in the US. Of course, that has been my experience and everyone has their own experiences. I have Kidney Failure and have to do dialisys three times a week and have to pay 25 KD each session which comes out to 300 KD a month. That is very cheap compared to the $350 that I would have to pay in the US per session which comes out to $4200 a month. I find that considering that I only pay 50 KD a year for the medical insurance it’s pretty cheap. That said if they raised the yeay fee and lowered my copayment I would gladly pay the increase. I do believe that we Expats are ungrateful to the Kuwaiti government for the fact that we get cheap health care.
    On the other side of the coin, I have to say this… Being Kuwaiti doesn’t make you the Master of the World. You are not better than the Expats. Especially when you depend on them to do all your menial labor. I tell the same to Americans by the way. If you want less Expats in Kuwait you need to start working and by that I mean take those menial jobs that you hire Expats to do such as: Janitorial jobs, construction worker, cashier, waiter etc. Also you need to take these jobs at the same pay as everyone else. This this thing of paying people by nationality as opposed to paying them by qualifications needs to stop as well. Now I am not saying that all Kuwaitis do this but if you have a job you need to stop skipping work and still collect a paycheck. It makes you look lazy to everyone else. It’s also the reason why the government has to hire more Expats in order to pick up the slack left by Kuwaitis. If Kuwaitis didn’t feel above working a regular job I would have no problem hiring Kuwaitis in my restaurant. Infact I would give them priority because it would be good for the society.
    So what I want to say to my fellow Expats is this… Stop complaining about your so called misery here in Kuwait. Most Expats do NOT give back to the economy of Kuwait considering that they send 75% of their paychecks to their home countries. If you chose to come to Kuwait to make money, don’t complain. If your are not happy leave.As for Kuwaitis, climb down from your pedestal, your $h!t don’t smell like roses. The real reason that Kuwait is where its at is becuase of yourselves. No one else can be blamed. If the Emirates can have modernized infrastructure yet still be outnumbered 4 to 1 by Expats, so can you. Now understand modernization of your infrastructure does not mean legalizing pork and alcohol. It means to invest government money into roads, hospitals, schools, among others. I love Kuwait! It is my home and I would die for it. And it saddens me to see that no one wants Kuwait ro live up to its potential

  19. Think says:

    This is about a much broader issue about the Kuwaiti-Expat relationship. Kuwait needs expats in order to properly function and expats need Kuwait to make a good living. This is essentially a partnership.

    In order for any partnership to work, there needs to be mutual respect. Telling someone they are a leech/invader, or badmouthing local citizens while happily taking advantage of state services makes for a bad outcome for both sides.

    Kuwaiti’s are rightly concerned about being only 25-30% of the population. This is daunting in many ways. But why are you blaming the expats? Blame the visa traders for profiting off this, and blame the private sector for always choosing quantity over quality. You are competing against KD 350 accountants and KD 600 managers because those are the going rates. Moreover, blame yourself for choosing a cozy work-less government job over a challenge in the private sector.

    Another thing to think about; why are you so dependent on foreign labor? Do you really need 3 maids, a cook and a driver? Can you carry your own grocery bags to the car? What’s so bad about working in a store or a restaurant? As long as you demand that an expat takes care of you, then an expat will.

    On a more general note, there are so many unnecessary jobs in this country. Mandoobs for example: why do they exist? Why do companies need someone to physically transport a check from one office to another? Why do governmental procedures have to be so complicated that only a mandoob can do it? AND do we really need big, inefficient and dangerous water trucks driving around the country?

    Yet another thing to think about: Automation and AI (smart robots) are going to be taking a lot of menial jobs around the world. This will probably result in less overall expats in Kuwait because instead of a driver, you will have a self-driving car for example. It will also make ALOT of jobs that Kuwaitis currently do no longer necessary.

    Get ready for some real change. In the meantime, appreciate what the government, its people and its working guests do for you.

  20. Mostafa says:

    spent 2 years and realized its not my place – full of racism and no hope! – moved to UAE and life is much better! I have a sense of belonging here – even-though they won’t give a permanent residency or citizenship, UAE is 1000 years ahead of Kuwait in terms of treating other nationals and enforcing rules. When will kuwait learn?

  21. nasser says:

    its hard to post this (من طلع من داره قل مقداره) in english

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