Few Middle Eastern countries divide opinion as much as oil rich Kuwait. For some it is an expat’s paradise, offering some of the world’s highest salaries as well as a rich cultural experience. For others it’s seen as an expensive, backwards location - with nowhere near as much to offer as it’s neighbouring Gulf locations.
As with all countries there are a range of advantages and disadvantages for those who move there, however in the little spoken of, secretive state of Kuwait these may have a bigger impact on your everyday life than anywhere else.
To help you decide if the country is right for you therefore, here’s our quick guide to four advantages and disadvantages of everyday life living and working in the country.
+ High, Tax Free Salaries
Of course one of the main reasons for anyone to relocate to Kuwait is the prospect of the move being extremely financially rewarding. Salaries for medics in Kuwait are often higher than in the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and as with these locations they are tax free - making a move a very financially prudent one indeed.
- A High Cost of Living
Kuwait produces very little outside of oil, and this means that the majority of food and other products are imported into the country. Grocery prices in Kuwait are on average more than 70% higher than they are in London, whilst clothing also comes at a premium. This is offset however by the cost of fuel and other home utilities. In some places petrol is described as being cheaper than water - in Kuwait this is actually the case!
+ Brand New, Modern Expat Only Hospitals
Kuwait’s healthcare sector is unique. The country’s population is more than 70% expat and, as a result of this, big changes in recent times have seen the healthcare sector split into two. One services only Kuwaiti nationals, whilst the other is exclusively for expats. To drive forward the introduction of this split system three expat only hospitals in the country are currently nearing completion. These are built to an extremely high standard, and will allow you to deal with fellow expats in a modern and well equipped environment.
- Kuwait is a Divided Country
Whilst dealing mainly with expats sounds appealing to some, it highlights just how divided a country Kuwait is. Expats and Kuwaiti nationals (especially older ones) may find it difficult to get on, whilst as with many Islamic countries, genders are still kept apart in many aspects of life. The country thrived on immigration after the discovery of oil, but in recent times expats have been blamed for the issues that a rising population can lead to.
+ Plenty of Expat Groups
If you are worried about the social aspect of a move to Kuwait then that needn’t be an issue. As a country which was formed on immigration there are plenty of thriving expat groups and communities to be part of.
- These Groups Aren’t Always Visible
Whilst there are plenty of social options for Expats moving to Kuwait they can be difficult to find. Thankfully as a medic you will be working in a facility with a diverse team of doctors who should be able to help you out. Previously in Kuwait all expat news was spread through word of mouth, however now thanks to the internet it has become easier than ever to find fellow expats to spend time exploring the country with.
+ The Heat
As with the rest of the Middle East Kuwait offers almost year round sunshine, and high temperatures making it perfect for people who want to escape from any form of bad weather. Buildings are almost all air conditioned too, whilst houses are mostly modern and built to deal with the heat.
- The Heat
Whilst the heat and sunshine may well be a dream for many people, it does have drawbacks. In summer the temperature can exceed 48 °C, whilst the year round sun means little rain and thus little greenery. This can be a particular shock to northern European expats who are used to constantly changing seasons and weather.
Life in Kuwait is unique, even for the Middle East. Some aspects of the country are extremely Westernised, whilst others remain unmistakably Arabic. Excellent medical facilities, plenty of job opportunities and world class salaries can make it an extremely appealing place for expat medics - but we recommend you thoroughly research the country first to ensure that it’s right for you.
If a move to Kuwait sounds appealing then register on our website to start your journey a more fulfilling career overseas today.