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Expatriate Healthcare News: Expats 'are turning to loan sharks'

Expatriates living in the Gulf region are increasingly turning to loan sharks to help pay off their debts, according to reports.

The problem is prevalent within the Indian and Filipino expatriate population in Abu Dhabi, The National reported, and a lack of expat medical insurance could be making the situation worse for people struggling with money difficulties.

‘Demand for money from family members for emergency like medical treatments, marriages, education and sometimes even adjusting to inflation of livelihood compels them to take loans,’ K V Shamsudheen, founder of an expatriate debt charity, told the newspaper.

As with loan sharks around the world, borrowing money from an illicit source may be more trouble than it is worth, as they will often charge exorbitant rates and hike up the interest on their loans.

Expatriates may also be required to hand over their passports as collateral and could be forced to sign blank cheques.

Under sharia law, it is illegal to make money from money, such as charging interest on a loan.

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