Abu Dhabi expats sending their families home due to rising cost of living
ABU DHABI // The rising cost of living in the capital has forced many expatriates to send their families and children home to make ends meet.
The cost of rents, school fees and groceries have risen while salaries remained the same, they said.
Shibu Varghese said: “Last year, I sent two of my children back to India because of the rising cost of living in Abu Dhabi.
“Before, there was five per cent cap [in rent rises], but now there is no bar. At the same time, while salaries are not increasing the prices of food and groceries have gone up. School fees and water and electricity rates have jumped.”
Families find it very difficult to makeends meet, he said.
“That’s why, many Indian families are going back. Indian schools, except a few, charge more than Dh20,000 in annual fees.”
Mr Varghese said that if rents rose by five per cent, salaries also should go up by five per cent.
“But it doesn’t work that way,” he said.
“We, a husband and wife, work here but still we find difficult to manage,” he said.
Since the rent cap was scrapped by the government, costs have skyrocketed and building owners put rents up year after year, he said.
Indian John P Verghese, a senior engineer in Abu Dhabi, said: “With petrol [prices] people can manage, but [increases in the cost of] rents and other commodities, they can’t cope.”
When an expatriate pays Dh10,000 or Dh20,000 more on rents every year, that eats into remittances, he said.
“Now a days, it’s hard to save any money to send back home.”
For Pakistani resident Sharaf Ullah Khan, business is good and rent rises were not a problem.
“As I run my own business [rent rises are] OK with me, but those who are salaried might find it difficult to stay here with families because their salaries don’t increase,” Mr Khan said.
“I pay Dh195,000 for my restaurant but the business is good here. So, I have no problem in paying high rents,” he said.