'Think twice before going to Gulf'

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Dubai, Nov 16: If a recent poll is to be believed the expatriates who earlier found the tax-free working environment of the Gulf region has now adviced people to stay away from the Gulf as it is no longer attractive.

Readers responded in their hundreds after pollsters asked expats currently living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) whether they would still recommend the region to their friends and family as an place to live and work. But factors such as soaring rental costs, especially within the UAE, seem to be making people think twice about making the region their new home. According to the poll by Arabian Business, more than 40 per cent of respondents would urge their friends and family to stay away, while another 32 per cent would only recommend the Gulf if the person proposing to come was earning a big salary.

The results come as expats living in the UAE are hit by restrictions on credit facilities, problems with ID cards and a crackdown on sharing rental accommodation.

More than 80 per cent of the UAE workforce comes from abroad and many of the key industries across the Gulf rely on skilled workers from overseas.

A recent report by Asteco, a real estate company, highlighted that rental rates in Abu Dhabi soared by up to 157 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared to the same period last year as a lack of supply and ever increasing demand drove prices higher.

In the poll, 41 per cent of people who voted said the cost of living in the Gulf now outweighs the advantages of tax-free living and they would not recommend the region to friends and family.

But not everyone had such a negative view of the region and 27 per cent said they would still recommend people coming to the region.


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