In last weeks Kuwait Times, Sarah Abdullah wrote an article entitled, “More Westerners Seek Jobs in Gulf to Beat High Living Costs”.
In a way there was little new to the story: (1) Recession and bad economic management of the political economy in the USA and (2) the subsequent housing markets negative effects on finance have led to (3) many Americans and British leaving their homelands to make ends meet by working in the Persian Gulf where (4) a great deal of international capital is being funneled these days in the wake of the world’s rising petroleum prices.
What was not mentioned in Abdullah’s article is the sheer numbers of global immigrants who are seeking jobs so far from home.
Moreover, the contexts of working in the gulf are underplayed in terms of the cartels, monopolies, and societal norms and peculiarities, which cause long-term stress and propel potential success or failure for the job hopefuls in the long and short term.
SARAH ABDULLAH’S NARRATION
In her narration, Sarah Abdullah shared the following tidbits:
n In a story of one settler, Abdullah records, “My family and I have been living in Riyadh and Jeddah for the past seven years.”
Diana, a nurse from Hawaii who works at a government hospital, said this too. “Despite local complaints about the high cost of rent and food in the region, it is still better living here in terms of housing, utility rates, food and fuel costs. In the US, many people have lost their jobs due to numerous company layoffs.”
n With the UK and Germany having their worst growth rates in years, many Europeans from different lands are also making the exit to the Gulf, where they often have tax-free or partially tax free jobs.
n Dimitri, a British national, stated, “I first moved to the Middle East two years ago as part of a relocation program I applied for with the company I currently work for. I was first sent to the UAE when they opened an office in Dubai and was then relocated to Saudi Arabia initially for one year.”
n Many who live in compounds or gated communities in Saudi Arabia or some other parts of the Gulf state chime in, “I must admit I had concerns about the standard and way of living in the Kingdom and the region. However, upon moving to Saudi Arabia, I found that these worries are somewhat a myth. Having lived here for over eight months, I would be willing to extend the duration of my contract here.”
n Michelle, an American science teacher at an International School in Jeddah for the last two years, added, “I think another advantage of living in Saudi Arabia is the crime rate. Things happen from time to time here, but incidents aren’t so widespread compared to other countries.”
Sarah Abdullah ends her piece by noting that there has been an upswing in Western expats entering Kuwait, too: “While British nationals continue to comprise the bulk of Westerners, more and more Americans, Canadians, French and Germans among others are seeking opportunities in Kuwait in order to escape few jobs and higher living costs in their home countries.”
WHAT’S NOT BEING SHARED
I believe it is fairly obvious that some things are not being shared clearly with potential settlers from the West through such rosy narration or prognostication.
For example, Sarah Abdullah doesn’t note: