7 Days in Dubai - - SPECIAL REPORT -

t was kind of scary for a while there,” said Robert Foster, an Amer­i­can from Beau­fort, South Carolina. “We sold ev­ery­thing we had.”

Foster is one of a num­ber of ex­pats who have found them­selves in fi­nan­cial trou­ble in Qatar, where the eco­nomic slow­down and a lack of bank­ruptcy laws have meant that the loss of your job could also mean the loss of your lib­erty.

In Jan­uary, Foster said his boss called him into his of­fice and laid him off, along with oth­ers. Four days later, the bank closed his ac­count, putting all he had to­ward his re­main­ing loan, he said.

Oil prices have fallen from more than $100 a bar­rel in the sum­mer of 2014 to bot­tom out this Jan­uary at un­der $30, a 12year low. In the time since, oil has clawed back to $50 on sup­ply dis­rup­tions and low­ered re­serves, but the dam­age al­ready had been done.

In Qatar con­struc­tion ac­cel­er­ated with the an­nounce­ment it would host the 2022 FIFA World Cup but as oil and gas prices sank, so too did the cof­fers, lead­ing to lay-offs across both pri­vate and pub­lic com­pa­nies.

The state-run Qatar Pe­tro­leum made at least 1,500 for­eign work­ers re­dun­dant in a re­cent re­struc­tur­ing, said Mo­hammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Qatar’s en­ergy and in­dus­try min­is­ter.

“We did not start with the idea of

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