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6.10.09

Over 40% think expat workforce is major Gulf problem

by Elsa Baxter:
More than 40 percent of people think every expatriate working in the Gulf should be sent home to counter the threat a massive migrant workforce places on the region, according to an Arabian Business poll.
The surprising results show the majority of respondents, 42.3 percent, do not support foreign workers coming to the region. Instead they said they wanted every expat to be sent home “immediately”.
However, on the other end of the scale, 36 percent of people – the second highest response - said the Gulf needed even more expat workers in order to further develop.

The GCC is dependent on imported labour. An estimated 13 million foreign workers reside in its six states and make up about 37 percent of the population.In Dubai, expats outnumber nationals by five to one.
According to the poll, only 1.4 percent of people supported a five year cap on residency – a restriction lobbied for by the Bahrain Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi – but they agreed that a large migrant workforce was an issue for Gulf countries.
A total of 20.3 percent of respondents said more efforts were needed to train nationals to work in certain sectors to ease the reliance on foreign labour.
Last week the former director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said the sheer number of expats living in the Gulf was tantamount to colonisation.
“The fundamental issue here is; where in history have local people been so overwhelmed by expats? In the past, we’ve called it colonisation. It’s how my country was founded,” Mike Moore, a former prime minister of New Zealand, told Arabian Business.

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