Moving to Kuwait for Work - What to Expect?
The Middle East is still a popular destination for ex-pats looking for a job. Local employers offer great employment packages and tax-free salaries.
The Middle East is still a popular destination for ex-pats looking for a job. Local employers offer great employment packages and tax-free salaries. Kuwait offers exactly the same. Ex-pats make almost two-thirds of its population, which proves high workforce demand in almost all professional areas. If you are among the ones who have decided on moving to Kuwait for work, it’s definitely a good decision that can boost your income, enable good savings, and make a financial turning point in your life. So let’s find something more about what Kuwait has in store for you.
If you want to arrange your relocation on your own, including moving your home to a new destination, you can negotiate to get a relocation package amount. In this case, the best thing to do is to hire a professional moving company. There is nothing more relieving than moving to a new country with ease, allowing yourself more time to relax and find out more about the new country and culture you are about to meet. The most common option though is to accept the offered employment package. Whatever the position you’ve been employed for, almost all employment packages cover the same things, the only difference is in the range of money allowed for each of the items.
Visa and Work Permit
Once you have sent the required documents to your employer (usually required: passport copy, diplomas, and certificates, home country health certificate and police clearance) you don’t have to spend time on it at all. Your employer gets everything done and is there for you whatever is to be finished with the officials. Once your visa is ready you can apply for our family members’ resident visas. Family residence restrictions - If you are moving to Kuwait to work and planning to bring your family with you, keep in mind that male children over 21 won’t be allowed to stay on your visa. For female dependents, there is no restriction. If you are getting employment in Kuwait and you’re a woman, you won’t be allowed to bring any family members under your residence visa - keep that in mind when negotiating your employment.
Salary and Benefits
You get a tax-free salary. The benefits include health insurance, annual air ticket, accommodation, and transportation allowance, school tuition allowance for your underage children. Not rarely do they offer air tickets for your family members, too. The more responsible position, the more perks you will be offered.
Your accommodation, as mentioned above, is provided by the employer. In case you are not satisfied with the provided accommodation, you can move to the accommodation of your choice. If the renting price of the new flat or house is higher than the price of the provided one, then you will have to pay the exceeding amount. The new accommodation you have found may not be fully furnished, thus you might need to find second-hand or brand new furniture online and organize a simpler way to move it to your new home with the help of moving professionals, such as easymovekw.com.
A Foreigner in Kuwait
Life in Kuwait is organized in Islamic tradition mirrored in both social and business relations. What a foreigner should be aware of is the relationship between genders, which is pretty different from the one in the western world. Showing affection or any kind of intimacy between men and women in public is unacceptable. Local women wear a headscarf and a long dress that fully covers the body. As a western woman in Kuwait, you are not required to cover your head or wear a long dress, but you are expected to wear decent clothes that cover your shoulders and knees. For men, there aren’t really any dressing codes different from those at home. There are several rules of etiquette a foreigner should keep in mind:
- Alcohol - Alcohol is completely banned and the applicable law is very strict. It is not served even at luxurious international hotels and restaurants.
- Smoking - Smoking is allowed although it is more acceptable for men than for women. During Ramadan, no smoking, eating or drinking water in public places is allowed.
- Unmarried couples - Unmarried couples are not allowed to live together in Kuwait. It is impossible to provide a visa for your wife unless you provide a marriage certificate.
The Weather - Hot or Scorching?
If you are moving to Kuwait to work and stay for a longer period of time, you must be ready to gradually adjust to extreme weather conditions, especially in summer. The temperatures range from 45°C to 50°C and higher during the day. As the night falls you become optimistic hoping you’ll finally breathe in some cool air, but you get disappointed the moment you open the window - it’s midnight and it’s still 30°C. This is extremely hot weather so you might consider taking additional care to your health drinking more water and applying at least these healthy tricks to lifestyle changes. You can easily move around though in your air-conditioned cars and never worry about how much petrol you have spent as the petrol price is very low. Winters are cooler with temperatures going down to 10°C so you can spend more time outside.
If you’re moving to Kuwait to work and live - get used to organizing your free time around shopping malls. Due to extreme heat during the summer, most of the social life happens in perfectly air-conditioned shopping malls. Being desired shelters from the heat, they offer a wide range of restaurants, children’s play areas, coffee shops, supermarkets, and shops that offer a huge variety of brands so one can easily go on a shopping spree. If you want to save a bit more, try to resist and stick to a budget - at the end of the day, you will be happy with the decision.
Explore the Country
Kuwait is mainly a desert area but fairly rich in historical sites, national parks, museums, beaches to explore and enjoy. It will definitely offer a unique experience - get ready and embrace it.
Sam Snow (40) is a teacher who has been teaching and living internationally for years mainly in the Middle East. She teaches, writes books reviews, and blogs about the countries she has lived in or traveled to. She is passionate about life and learning.