The Ultimate Guide to Expat Life in Kuwait

Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Transition, Finding Schools, Healthcare, and Activities for Kids

The oil-rich emirate of Kuwait once extended a warm welcome to foreign residents. Although attractive relocation packages used to be readily available, the government has recently moved to restrict the number of foreigners living and working there. Despite this, Kuwait continues to host a sizable expat community, with an estimated 70% of the country’s employment being made up of international workers.

Kuwait is an Islamic country, yet expats will discover that Western culture has had a significant impact on everyday life there. Although not as strict as Saudi Arabia to the north, visitors should nevertheless dress decently and avoid public displays of affection out of respect for local Arab culture.

Although Arabic is the country’s official language, English is widely spoken and used in the corporate world. It is expected that foreigners will have little trouble conversing with natives.

Despite the abundance of multinational corporations present in Kuwait, the following spouse typically faces difficulty in securing employment. Most Westerners who relocate to Kuwait do so because they have been offered high-paying jobs in the country’s thriving oil business. The country’s banking industry is likewise rising.


Those relocating to Kuwait with children will be relieved to learn that the country has a high percentage of literacy and a high-quality education system. However, expatriates with children interested in enrolling in certain international schools should anticipate longer wait times. Therefore, it is recommended to submit an application early in order to guarantee a spot.

While all inhabitants of Kuwait are provided with free healthcare and education, foreign workers are not entitled to these services. But expats may be certain that their health care in Kuwait will be on par with that of any private hospital in Western Europe or North America.

Although newcomers to Kuwait may experience culture shock and need to make some modifications to their way of life at first, they will likely feel at home in the Middle Eastern country in no time and begin to enjoy the many benefits of living as an expat in Kuwait.

The Arab Times is one of three daily publications in English, so visitors may get a sense of what’s going on in Kuwait at any time of year. The local expat community is kind and welcoming. Few would argue that the social life of Kuwait is what makes this city unique, despite the fact that it lacks the tourist attractions of some of the other Gulf States.

Kuwait's View
Kuwait’s View

The thriving oil industry: the reason many people are moving to Kuwait

The prosperity of Kuwait’s economy is a major draw for international workers. The oil business is still crucial to the country’s economy today. More than 90% of government revenue and over half of GDP come from oil exports.

In 2011 and early 2012, when oil prices rose again, governments throughout the world increased spending, and the economy expanded rapidly. However, due to the recent drop in oil prices in 2015, a record yearly budget deficit was recorded for the first time in 16 years.

The government of Kuwait has used the money it has made from oil to considerably improve public schools and create a robust social security system for its citizens. However, due to new limitations and bans on healthcare access and driving, this may only be somewhat beneficial for expats in Kuwait.

View of Kuwait
View of Kuwait

Cultural Shocks of Living as an Expat in Kuwait

Kuwait is a very liberal country with a big expatriate community from Asia and the West, and Christian churches give multiple services a day to this community. Despite the bans on alcohol and pig products, select groups are granted access to these commodities. Some young women in Kuwait choose to wear full-coverage black abayas, but it is also common to see them in hipster jeans and lycra t-shirts.

Although women in the West are free to wear whatever they like, many choose to cover their shoulders in public to prevent unwanted attention. However, women in other, more enlightened Middle Eastern nations feel free to show more skin when they go out in public. In the beach clubs, bathing suits are the standard of dress.

Muslims observe a daily fast from dawn to sunset during the Holy Month of Ramadan. During certain times, non-Muslims are forbidden from consuming food or liquids in public. The rule does not apply to kids. Evenings throughout Ramadan have a celebratory mood, and special dishes are made for the meals. There are many people out and about, and stores and restaurants stay open late.

The “diwaniyas” are popular nighttime hangouts for males in Kuwait. They are large rooms or basements in private homes where guys get together frequently to play cards, talk business, and debate current events. The event also includes free food and drinks. The women also get together at each other’s houses, but not as frequently.

Nights of Kuwait
Nights of Kuwait

Job options for expats in Kuwait

Those who can instruct are in high demand. Positions for adjunct instructors are frequently open as well. About half of the 8,000 British residents are educators. There is a high need for employees with office and computer abilities, including native English speakers, in the business sector.

The candidate should make sure that all terms and conditions are written down and understood by all parties before starting new employment. The current economic upswing in Kuwait has led to an increase in the need for multitalented workers.

Descriptions: Many expats, especially those in the oil business, still find Kuwait to be an appealing option despite the country’s troubled past. Kuwait is still a major participant in the oil industry, holding about 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Expats are also wanted in the commercial, export, and finance sectors.

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