What does the Qatar-Gulf Rift mean for expats?
Nine nations have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar after it was accused of supporting extremist Islamic groups. The UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and later Yemen have decided to withdraw their diplomatic staff and to cut all traffic to Qatar, causing a diplomatic rift in the Arabian peninsula. Could this isolation mark a decline in Qatar expats in these countries?
Air, land and sea traffic between Arab countries
Since the diplomatic links have been cut, nations have been cutting air, sea and land connections to Qatar. Many Arabian Gulf companies, including Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air have decided to suspend any flights leaving from or going to Doha, the country’s capital. The UAE have even decided to close their seaports to Qataris. The bottom line is that they want to stop Qataris from entering the country.
The land restrictions have not been good news for Qatari expats. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE have taken harsh measures, forcing Qatari expats to head back to their home country, and have even banned their own citizens from entering or staying in Qatar.
Other nations might not have completely cut ties, but they are definitely reducing their diplomatic relations with Qatar.
The impact on other expats
Qatar is home to close to 2 million expats, and Qataris are seen as a minority in the country. Many expats living in Qatar are worried about how the rift will affect them.
Some expats have had their vacation cancelled by their employers to stop them from traveling, especially foreign employees working in government sectors. Americans and Europeans working in Qatar hold a multi-exit visa, letting them leave and reenter the country. Some expats have seen this exit permit cancelled, prohibiting them from traveling outside of the country.
These cancellations don’t affect everyone, but have caused alarm among expats. On the bright side, the country’s financial position is still strong, meaning that they are unlikely to run out of food or money any time soon.
This situation has affected thousands of expats, but mostly expats from the countries involved in the rift. Officials have asked expats to stay calm, as those from other countries haven’t been too impacted by this rift.