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Thursday, June 02, 2005

when the pigeons come to roost....

Thinking over the matter of expats/foreign workers in Kuwait (and the surrounding region in general) has brought me to the following realizations:

? Its never the "best of breed" that come here to participate and work EVEN IF they are paid more (I surmise they would need at least triple their home pay or more to consider it). And the reasons are that jobs for most people are more than money and include the following intangibles:
§ Sense of being a valued part of a business/team with an impact on its progress
§ Environment: easy access to culture, leisure, relationships, values
§ The ability to own their own homes and build the most basic form of equity (currently restricted to local citizens)
§ Communication: being able to interact without feeling out of place or viewed as a foreigner.
§ Career mobility: It is simply harder to move to different or better positions simply because they don't exist.
? Because of the above, we're left with certain types of expats that are relatively undesirable that include:
§ Deadbeats: the ones unable to get jobs in their own homes. (many of these)
§ Economic refugees: people with talent and ambition that are unable to find opportunities in their own countries. (relatively few of these and not easily identifiable)
§ Tax refugees: these follow from the deadbeats mentioned above but are a notch better since they look at the marginal savings here vs. their homes and find it ideal to work here.
§ Con artists: these are the smart ones that lack ethics and are willing to do whatever it takes to mislead people into giving them money and power one way or another. They're the hardest to contain by definition and can have significant impact in terms of the destruction they leave in their wake. This category also includes minor cons such as certain "journalists".

? We're left with a few expats that are beneficial and make significant positive impacts:
§ Expat locals: people of talent who are originally from the area but had left a long while back for one reason or another and have suddenly decided they want to be closer to their motherland and relatives.
§ Adventurers: expats who like to test themselves in an alien environment and expand their cultural horizons.

? My definition of expats: wide and not confined to any specific national or ethnic group and simply means foreigners that work here and do not consider this their main or permanent domicile.

? Thinking constructively - we need to work towards creating a agreeable, integrative destination for people to come to as well as keep what little local talent we have. This requires a holistic approach to defining country, city, culture, career.


  • When I was working in Bahrain, the talk around the office was that there are only 4 types of western expats that would come and work there: Gays, CIA, those of a religious persuasion, and those that are incompetent (& can't get the type of job or money in their own countries)... we certainly had all of these (except the gay guy - though I've come across these in other jobs)

    By Blogger Kiwi Nomad, at Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:45:00 PM  

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