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Expatriates may not flee Gulf in droves

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 12: Expats might not flee the Gulf in the numbers predicted earlier as economies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar fared better than expected during the pandemic, according to Oxford Economics, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting https://www.bloomberg.com “The impact on jobs declining in non-oil gross domestic product has been smaller than anticipated,” Scott Livermore, chief economist for the region, wrote in a report Wednesday.

“Travel restrictions and the use of furlough or unpaid leave have weakened the link between expats losing their jobs and returning to their home country.” The six nations comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman – are heavily dependent on foreign workers in sectors as diverse as construction and finance.

But as economies slowed and then contracted during the global health emergency, many expats whose residence visas were linked to jobs that had disappeared were forced to head home. Fueling the exodus, Kuwait passed legislation trimming its foreign workforce as it sought to assuage local anger over job losses, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar aimed to boost citizen employment.

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