Time to leave?

Many Western expatriates head to the Gulf for its perceived financial benefits, but regional economist Dr Henri Azzam says the recent decline in the value of the US dollar could mean the end of the golden age for some.

  • E-Mail
By  John Irish Published  January 15, 2004

Western expatriates may want to consider returning to their home nations after the recent decline in the value of the US dollar. Speaking on the sidelines of the recent Gulf Marketing Forum held in Qatar, economist and CEO of Jordinvest, Dr Henri T Azzam, said that British expatriates, in particular, will be affected by the decline of the dollar and the resultant rise of the sterling. Asked what impact he thought the decline in the value of the dollar would have on the western foreign labour force, Azzam suggested that some people’s incomes could drop by as much as 30% in 2004 in real terms. “[UK expatriates] should go back home and try to find a regular job as it won’t pay here,” said Azzam. “I mean, if there’s somebody British working here, he has lost the added value by losing as much as 30% of his income. The taxes they would pay in [their home country], they are now paying through the exchange rate differences.” He added that the potential difficulties of living under different social and spiritual strictures in Saudi Arabia would no longer be outweighed by the financial rewards. “You’re better off living in London, than Riyadh,” he said. When pressed on the ever-increasing numbers of expatriates heading to Dubai’s more cosy and relaxed work environment, Azzam, although acknowledging the attractions, advised expatriates to prepare themselves for a much higher cost of living. “The price of imports and services we’re getting from Japan and Europe is more expensive, so the cost of living is up, That means that 2004 salaries will adjust to that and make things less profitable for people,” concluded Azzam.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code