Expat News Roundup - week 1, 2013

Posted on 03/01/2013

Saudi Arabia is in the expat news again this week, with proposed new employment laws set to improve working arrangements and reduce working hours for expats. Meanwhile, there are reports that the country’s housing market is struggling to meet demand from foreign workers.

The UAE Central Bank’s mortgage cap has also made the headlines, with expats now needing to find 50 percent of a property’s value themselves before they can buy.

India has been in focus as well, as its expanding economy attracts its own nationals home from their work overseas, as well as expats from Europe and the US seeking to flee their own struggling economies.

Expat working hours likely to reduce in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government has proposed plans to reduce working hours at private firms to 40 hours per week, in a move that may attract even greater numbers of expat workers to the area.

The reduction from 48 to 40 working hours per week would effectively mean a 30 percent salary increase for expats, according to the head of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s manpower committee, Mansour Al-Shatri.

Al-Shatri has opposed the government’s proposal, which he believes will deny private sector work to Saudi nationals.

The proposed plans would also provide expats with further stability, by requiring them to give written assent prior to any move away from their original employment location.


Expat demands lead to predicted housing boom in Saudi Arabia

The continual arrival of expat workers in Saudi Arabia has driven a sharp rise in the price of rental accommodation. Demand is high, and some newcomers are struggling to find suitable premises.

The Telegraph reports that Westerners’ preference for compound-style living accommodation, which provides some relief from the country’s strict Islamic laws, is predicted to drive a rise of 50 percent in this type of development by 2015.


UAE Central Bank’s mortgage cap set to impact negatively on expats

Expats looking to buy property in the UAE will now have to put down 50 percent of the property’s value as a deposit, after the UAE Central Bank directed the country’s banks to cap expat mortgages.

The move is aimed at restoring stability to the fragile banking sector by reducing the aggressive lending techniques that have previously led to bad loans.

The likely impact is an increase in demand amongst expats for lower-end property, while higher value homes look to become increasingly hard both to sell and to purchase.


India set to tempt its expat nationals back home in 2013

Rising salaries, a greater variety of employment opportunities and the predicted creation of over a million jobs in India in 2013 are combining to tempt many of those who left the country in the past two decades to return home.

Indian expats who have been earning money overseas are beginning to move back in increasing numbers, as opportunities spring up in a range of sectors. According to a survey of nearly 4,500 companies operating in India, the consumer goods, healthcare, IT and hospitality sectors look to be leading the anticipated increase in jobs, with other sectors coming a close second.


Expats flock to India as employment opportunities increase

The rise in employment opportunities in India, which is predicted to continue throughout 2013, has led to an increasing number of expats moving to the country for work.

The Economic Times reports that the number of expats working in India has increased by around 15-20 percent on the previous year. Expats from Europe and the US have risen particularly, as they face difficult economic situations back home.

India’s relatively stable economy means that job opportunities and remuneration packages for expats look set to continue to increase during the years ahead.