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Where are the jobs?

Where are the jobs?

The Dubai government has clarified that while people are leaving the city because of the economic slowdown, many more are coming in. So, are they finding jobs?

February 9, 2009 11:39 by

The number of working visas being issued in Dubai remains a net positive figure, said Raed Safadi the chief economist in the Dubai government during a recent International Monetary Fund meeting in the city.

“Yes, we have cancelled a lot [of visas], but at the same time a lot have been issued,” he said. “While there were around 1,500 [employment and residence] visa cancelations per day in Dubai in January 2009, more than 2,000 visas were also issued – we’re on the upside.”

Safadi did admit that government data was not readily accessible, blaming it on the lack of the right mechanisms to produce the data. “On a daily basis, we do not have the means to actually tell you that there are 500 new jobs being created in such and such sectors.”

It is exactly this data that is essential.

The real estate sector is laying off people mercilessly: Officially, Nakheel has cut 500 jobs; 250 people have been sacked from Damac; Al-Shafar General Contracting said it was laying off between 500 to 1, 000 workers; Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs cut 15 and 10 percent of their employees respectively; Onmiyat, Tameer and Shuaa Capital have all trimmed their staff.

And these are only some of the recorded numbers. Several companies, especially those associated with the property sector, have not announced their redundancies. Furthermore, many other companies are resorting to salary cuts.

A recent report in Emirates Business quotes the Indian consulate as saying that carriers flying to the UAE have received bulk bookings from construction firms in the country to fly out 20,000 of their workers. Venu Rajamony, Indian Consul-General in Dubai said that construction companies are sending their Indian workforce back home on long leave or repositioning them to other Gulf countries where they have projects.

With the rising rate of unemployment, and with the list of cancelled or suspended projects in the region constantly growing longer, (a recent report from HSBC says around $75 billion projects in the UAE have been suspended or cancelled) where are the new people who have been given visas finding jobs?  At the moment, there hardly seems to be space for new people in the property sector…or any industry for the matter. The financial, media and advertising sectors have also been hit by the financial crisis.

And with so many people already desperately trying to find some work – any work in the city – it seems quite incredible that so many new people are relocating to Dubai for a nice cushy job.

…Which is precisely why Raed Safadi should be giving us more data, like if and where there are 500 jobs available in the emirate.

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  1. Peter M on February 10, 2009 8:34 am

    Lying to the press and the public will do them no good. Not only are there more cancellations than new visas, but they are not taking into account the number of people who have left with their residency visas still active – most of these are the brains of this economy, the middle managers in the range of USD 10K per month who cannot afford to live decently anymore in the UAE and are better off back “home”. Eventually reality will bite. The UAE government should not be working on masking the truth but rather on containing the effects of this very needed correction we are seeing now in the UAE. Property prices and rentals higher than some of the world’s major capitals was artificial, unsustainable and unrealistic. Dubai reached its equilibrium in 2005. The government should focus on getting prices and mindsets back to that level if they want to get out of the crisis with only minor bruises. They have encouraged greed among their citizens and if this is not reverted, the consequences will be dire.

  2. Umar on February 10, 2009 8:47 am

    All the major sectors of UAE are currently undergoing massive cost-control drive. I wish all the new-comer best of luck as some of them may be victims of the ‘last in first out’ phenomena when it comes to cutting jobs.

  3. SNair007IN on February 10, 2009 8:47 am

    I fully agree with Peter. UAE government have not taken into consideration of the employees who left the country without cancelling the Visa. Myself be the one among, left UAE last month with my family. Morrison & Menon have commented that by March, 25% of the Indian community would return home. Many business man say, they dont know, where this gonna end. Any way good luck for UAE.

  4. Obelix on February 10, 2009 10:18 am

    Disagree with Peter M on ‘Govt encouraging greed amongst its citizens’.

    Anyone who has invested in property here has been lured by greed and I do not believe it is Emratis who own most of Springs/ Meadows/Greens/Marina, Arabian Ranches etc.

    Every single individual in this sector is guilty of unabashed greed which has ultimately led to the downfall of this sector.

  5. beautifulmind on February 10, 2009 11:01 am

    all these guys can do is cook up lies..there is no support of any kind from the government for the expats losing their communication or message saying what measures they are taking to help the people..the same people who built this city leaving their own country and loves ones.. they make news which looks good to them and is convenient..its never about the facts and what’s in front of your eyes..(like only 11 cars left at the airport..what a joke) let the ministry also tell us which companies are far as i know.a lot of companies have removed the hr link from their websites..

  6. Jayan Nair on February 10, 2009 4:18 pm

    2003 – 2009 Dubai rules
    2009 – ? Abu Dhabi rules.

    A bit of Conservative approach in everything is not a bad idea after all. Dad was right. We realize that long after we have defeated him in argument.

  7. Sonia Bhatnagar - Doha on February 10, 2009 5:42 pm

    Dubai has been likened to a sinking Titanic and the sooner one leaves the better, because just like the Titanic, if one holds on too hard to the last sinking tip, he along the sinking ship will reach the abyss. One must have other alternatives and keep his options wide open (Qatar, SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand, etc). As a financial analyst commented in one of the local papers, this place will only welcome you with a handshake, never with open arms. Absolute arrogance and blind greed (at the expense of its expatriates) has brought Dubai to its knees in the most humiliating way; the world cannot help but gloat at Dubai’s doom.

  8. ShiekhBling on February 11, 2009 9:30 am

    I quote 2 press reports today – whopping 47% decline in visas issued for JANUARY compared to same month last year and sending staff back with one way ticket.

    Need anyone say anymore?

    1) Companies ask expatriate staff to take unpaid leave
    The National
    An increasing number of firms are asking expatriate employees to take unpaid leave rather than making them redundant, uncertain of how long and deep the downturn will be in the region. Dhow Palace, a five-star hotel in the Burj Dubai area, has given a quarter of its staff a one-way ticket home on unpaid leave for three to four months. “They are mostly junior staff, but by sending them away, we are saving a lot on transportation, food and accommodation,� said Ashwin Singh, the general manager of the hotel. “It is hard to lose staff, but I would prefer to lose 25 per cent rather than all of them. This is the only solution available to hoteliers.� Mr Singh said hotel revenues throughout the industry had fallen between 45 and 60 per cent since the final quarter of last year. Occupancy rates since then have dropped about 30 per cent and room rates have declined sharply. “I’m not worried about the occupancy as much as I am worried about how to increase revenue,� Mr Singh said. Shahzad Butt, the director of business development at Chelsea Hotels Group, said room rates, in most cases, had fallen back to levels of 1998-1999, forcing hoteliers to send staff back home on involuntary leave to manage costs.

    2) Dubai cancels 86% more residency visas – official figures
    Arabian Business
    Dubai cancelled 86 percent more residency visas in January this year compared with the same period in 2008, official figures revealed on Tuesday. Data from Dubai’s Ministry of Interior Naturalization & Residency (DNRD) shows that 54,684 residency visas were cancelled during the month of January, compared with 29,418 in January 2008 – an 86 percent increase. This translates to approximately 1,764 every day, higher than the 1,500 cancellations reported in the media during the past three weeks. However, the number of new residency visas issued in January was higher than the number cancelled, with 88,423 visas being approved, said the DNRD. Yet, this figure is down from January 2008, when 93,957 residency visas were issued. The DNRD confirmed that the figures were for new residency visas only and did not include renewed ones. “Dubai’s economy has always been dynamic and resilient and this is mainly due to the great leadership of the country that managed over the last four decades to turn every challenge into an opportunity,â€� said Major General Mohammed Ahmad Al Marri, director of the Interior Naturalization & Residency.

  9. Saad on February 21, 2009 1:08 am

    On ground reality is always different than what we hear and read in the news papers. Merely saying that 1500 people are cancelling and 2000 are getting employment/residence visas every day is an INCOMPLETE statement. Does that mean it’s all good? Even if it’s considered right, it means that people who are coming to Dubai in these times do not have the right information about this place. Things are getting tough and Dubai is loosing it’s touch of a tax free and tourist attractive place. Those who live in castles don’t realise that how difficult it is to live in one bedroom apartment with your family merely keeping ur face in the society. Rents have shot high, savings have become impossible, every month one is in more debt. If any lady/gentleman gets to read this, please realise that i have been here in Dubai for the past 5 years and have never heard negative about Dubai anywhere i have travelled. In this difficult time, please refrian from being commercial and re-gain your impression of generous Arabs who love people and make lives easier for its public. Dubai has become a business hub, its all machines working here and there is not much space left for culture and values to be seen! Control the prices and give leverage to public as we cried when H.H Shiekh Zayed died and now since he is not there anymore, it seems there is no one to look after the masses. In simple words WE ARE DISAPPOINTED. BRING CHANGE PLEASE, the amount of wealth given to Arabs by God, at least make living easy for us, bring rents down PLEASE. God Bless.


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