Kuwait is one of the wealthiest countries in the region and in the world, recently ranked 11th in terms of GDP per capita. The Kuwaiti dinar is one of the most highly valued currencies in the world.
The key industry in Kuwait is petroleum, with an estimated 10% of the world’s oil reserves located in the country. Petroleum generates 95% of Kuwait’s export revenue and nearly 50% of the country’s GDP. Most of the remaining GDP is generated by the service sector. There are targets in place to increase oil production in Kuwait by the year 2020, while at the same time there are plans to promote greater diversity in the economy and attract more foreign investment. Moves toward economic diversification in the 1980s were blighted by the Iraqi invasion and the Gulf War in 1990.
Kuwait’s other industries include pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and banking. Tourism and travel is a relatively small sector, currently contributing around 3.5% of total GDP, but forecast to increase.
Many foreign nationals move to Kuwait to work in the oil industry. Other sectors that employ high numbers of expats include telecommunications, finance and IT. Being situated close to some of the world’s more politically unstable countries, Kuwait also offers a range of opportunities for security professionals.
Many healthcare professionals working in Kuwait City are foreign nationals, as there is a shortage of local qualified medical workers. There are plenty of opportunities for English language teachers who wish to start working in Kuwait City, in secondary schools, bilingual schools or teaching classes for adults such as at the Kuwait English Language Center.
Many people find that their Kuwait employer will act as the sponsor and support them through their work permit application. As part of the process you will need to submit a medical certificate from your doctor in your home country and undergo a medical examination in Kuwait. Following security clearance your application can be completed and a residence permit issued.
Foreign nationals employed in Kuwait can sponsor residence applications for a spouse and children. Female dependents may reside with an employed expat in Kuwait City indefinitely. However, dependent sons of expatriates are permitted to stay in Kuwait only until they reach the age of 21. After this time they must either apply for a residence permit in their own right or leave Kuwait.