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Arab-European citizens are moving to the Gulf for a better quality of life 

April 4, 2024 at 3:01 pm

A view of the Persian Gulf which is among the cities where large plazas are located and preferred by tourists in Doha, Qatar on December 3, 2023. [Mehmet Ali Özcan – Anadolu Agency]

Arabs with citizenship in European countries, including immigrants who obtained passports recently, are fueling a wave of migration to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, according to a recent report by The Media Line.

Citing official statistics, the outlet noted an increase in the number of European citizens of more than 30 per cent in some Gulf countries. The number increased significantly last year and has risen again since the beginning of 2024.

The main reasons cited in the report include high taxes in Europe, the difficulties trying to maintain religious traditions, and the desire for a luxurious lifestyle. The surge in right-ring tendencies across parts of Europe and growing intolerance as well as Islamophobia were also cited as reasons for the phenomenon. Moreover, Gulf countries are seen as attractive due to their economic opportunities, “golden visas” for skilled workers, and a more culturally familiar environment for Muslims from the West.

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One such person is Mustafa Ibrahim, a Swiss citizen of Iraqi origin, who relocated to Oman after moving to Europe. He was quoted as saying: “I was working in the Sultanate of Oman, but I could not obtain Omani citizenship,” he was quoted as saying. “Hence, I went to live with my sister in Switzerland and obtained Swiss citizenship. Now I am returning to work in the Sultanate of Oman again.” Ibrahim added that he moved back to Oman after facing issues living as a Muslim in Switzerland.

“I have a son and a daughter,” he said. “I could not raise them there according to Islamic traditions. My daughter was subjected to racism repeatedly because she wore the hijab and was expelled from more than one school because she refused to wear a swimsuit, which is considered forbidden in front of men in the Islamic religion.”

Saudi economist Mohammad Al-Sabban said that in his country approximately one-third of residents are foreigners, while in Qatar and the UAE, the figure is more than 85 per cent. “Most of those who returned to live in the GCC are experienced people, and they enjoy great privileges,” explained Al-Sabban. “Many foreign companies, whether European or Asian, operate in the Gulf countries and they are certainly looking for such expertise.”

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