Middle East curbing recruitment of expats

Middle East and the Gulf have always attracted expats from all over the world by providing high pay and paying low taxation. However one can see the signs of discontent, and recent reports show the unhappiness of the local population due to the presence of expats grabbing their jobs. In the UAE, local emirates contribute to only one-fifth of the population, while the expats from all over the world, mainly from the Indian sub-continent, the UK, continental Europe and the USA, contribute to the rest of the population.

At present, the estimated population of UAE, is more than 8 million. And expatriates make up around 87% of this. As per Ministry of Labour statistics of UAE, 99% of the man force in UAE are expatriates. Undoubtedly, these figures are not pleasing for the locals. Emiratization policies are now trying to increase the UAE nationals’ participation in the labour market, as well as making efforts to reduce the country’s reliance on expatriate labour.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has asked foreign firms to recruit at least 75 per cent Saudi nationals. To strengthen the National economy, SAGIA has limited the number of expatriates allowed to work in the firms of Saudi Arabia and restricted firms investing in Saudi Arabia must have a middle-sized classification with a minimum of 50 employees and minimum capital of SR 35.5m ($9.5m). At least 10 per cent of employees must be managers or specialists and 15 per cent technicians, or vice versa.

This demographic imbalance is due to the shift towards non-oil sector which thereby reduces the dependency of the government on oil revenues. New sectors of manufacturing, construction and services have been expanded. Unfortunately, due to the lack of skilled national labour, the government was forced to bring in a large number of expatriate workers from all over the world. As the UAE nationals are still just learning, the above mentioned new sectors have dramatically prompted mass arrival of expatriates who are recruited for the jobs as per their skills.

Kuwait currently has 2.5m expatriates, making up slightly more than two-thirds of the Kuwaiti population, the reason why locals have grown increasingly unhappy about. More than half of the UNNECESSARY foreign workers would be facing the push over in the coming years as the government plans to move them back to reduce its reliance on imported foreign labour.

The government has made a formal announcement for the gradual decrease of foreign workers. As per the social affairs and labour ministry of Kuwait, it will take requisite decisions and measures to reduce the number of expatriate workers by 100,000 every year for the coming 10 years to reach one million.

To conclude, the statistics stated above by the governments’ is there to justify its desire to increase participation of its nationals within the labour market. Also, certain types of working conditions and work, the increasing number of young people within the country, development of human resource in post-oil era and globalization among others are a few factors that contribute to effects of Emiratization in the nation.

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