Saudi Exodus? New survey shows over a third of expats want to leave

A new survey by the global banking giant HSBC has revealed that over a third of expatriates in Saudi Arabia want to leave the country

by The Commentator on 28 February 2013 10:04

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A new survey has indicated that over 1 in 3 foreign workers in Saudi Arabia want to leave the country and return home. One of the most common responses indicated that the rising cost of living in the country is a major factor.

An HSBC survey has confirmed that most expats in Saudi Arabia find integration difficult, and the cost of raising children to be very expensive.

“Despite the strong economy and the pull of job opportunities, it is unhealthy for the Saudi economy to let expats leave,” said economist Mohammed Shams.

“They are the driving force of the economy. I particularly mean the professional expats who have been working in Saudi Arabia for long years and they know very well how the Saudi business is developing fast.”

He added: “Such rate of expats who want to leave... is really high. I think we should start working from now to prepare a Saudi young generation that will be able to replace those expats.”

The Eurasia Review reports that according to the survey, the cost of raising children in Saudi Arabia is extremely high, with 70 percent of parents noticing an increased cost. 34 percent of those questioned said that they want to leave the country due to a variety of factors.

“Moving from our home country is tough, and we had hard time getting things done in the beginning,” said Lina Abu-Auof, an Egyptian teacher who came to Jeddah 10 years ago.

One further example noted is that of Mohammed Irfan, an Indian IT expert working in Jeddah who said he moved to Saudi Arabia 20 years ago expecting to gain a higher salary.

He mentioned that although he still received decent pay, he still was unable to save money. “I found that as much as I earned here, I had to spend all that on children’s school and house rent.”

Samira Qabbani, a Syrian mother of five, said that raising children in Saudi Arabia is difficult. She also stated that raising boys is much more difficult in Saudi Arabia.

“The need to keep children indoors and away from strangers is a major challenge I faced while raising my children,” she said. “In Syria, I used to leave my children to play in the garden next to our home, socialise with their relatives, and even walk to school alone.”

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