Most Gulf countries have a single-ID requirement (e.g. Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman), even for expats. The only time you are *required* to use it is when you are asked by security officials to declare your residency situation. Other than, it serves to quicken government processes requiring one (or any) of the following: birth certificate, proof of address, health certificate, passport, photographic proof of ID.
If the UK's uni-ID was designed to serve the same purpose (i.e. the swiss knife of IDs, so instead of having to bring in piles of photocopies and contracts, you'd just use your uni-ID), it wouldn't be such a bad idea.