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A Kurdistan heads up.

 
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maqueen



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:41 pm    Post subject: A Kurdistan heads up. Reply with quote

The recent independence referendum was a royal disaster, on top of private and public sectors already highly stretched and dependent on a stagnant oil price.

At the time of this posting:

-Public sector salaries are in arrears approaching 4 months. This means you work for the government i.e. teaching at a public school or university. This doesn't include the locals who already had their salaries cut in half in 2014/15 and foreign teachers who started working in arrears minimum 2 months.

-Foreigners here now are essentially trapped. No international flights in or out of Kurdistan at the moment. Yes, you can enter and leave through Baghdad, but when you leave you are subject to a 500K IQD ($400) fine if Kurdish Iqama is expired or simply anyway because central government doesn't recognize. Information regarding Turkish overland border isn't exactly clear right now from what I've been able to scrounge on Lonely Planet and elsewhere. Americans have the extra problem with present US/TR diplomatic row as far as a TR visa issued at border.

-Now you need a work visa issued through central government. While just anecdotal, a visa for a job in the south once took me 7 weeks in Dubai. That was working for Royal Dutch Shell. If they don't have pull I can only imagine what the wait would be for some random place in Kurdistan.

-There are electricity problems because refined oil comes from south and neighbors to power generation plants. At the moment there isn't any power 4 to 7 hours a day. Nearby auxiliary power may or may not be reliable and previous figures include this situation. Other's mileage may vary depending where they are located. Think throwing out groceries/meat from warming and cooling over X amount of days.

-There are heating oil and kerosene shortages in region just in time for winter.

-There are the ongoing simmering tensions between the different factions (made worse by recent events) and the only thing uniting them right now is their present fight against Baghdad.

-They've recently doubled Iqama fees and if a foreign public sector employee you pay. Right now you're looking at around $1000 a year for Iqama and blood test(s). Flights are still being repaid, from immediately to a couple of months, but think about in light of above.

-Private sector wages for foreign teachers have fallen significantly since 2013/14 and other jobs all but dried up unless it is low paid NGO stuff.

-Many foreigners have already left Erbil and Sulimanya because of the recent events. This could be positive or negative depending how you look at things within the prism above.

-Yes, a place like SABIS is still hiring and paying, but if that is what you do I'm imagining your ESL experience is quite limited and or you're just desperate.

If anybody has questions for someone on the ground here let me know. Have spent around 3 years in region over the years. I've dealt with and can deal with a lot of hardship with foreign postings. When the money problems start that is a huge heads up. I wasn't even told about 2 months delay before arriving and I even asked if they were still experiencing government salary delays/problems before coming last spring. Present advice is be very wary to just forget about it...
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In the heat of the moment



Joined: 22 May 2015
Posts: 376
Location: Africa

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember recently reading about a property boom in Kurdistan. Ah, not that recently after a quick search. Still, it sounds like desperate times over there, hope things improve soon.
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