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‘Bring your wives’, Qatar advised to host more expat families
Forget the construction stampede, demographic imbalance is causing long-term threat to social stability says new study.
September 1, 2008 9:14 by kippreport
A new report from Qatar’s Population Permanent Committee suggests correcting the country’s “unbalanced” male-female ratio by encouraging the recruitment of women who are relatives of male expats. The rump of the region’s expats are non-skilled laborers working in the construction industry.
The report says male residents aged between 15-45 constituted 70% of Qatar’s population; a normal male-female ratio should be in the range of 100-105.
The figures could apply equally to the UAE, Saudi or Bahrain.
The ‘bring your wife’ suggestion is unlikely to please those locals already unhappy the region is swamped by non-Gulf workers. Lobbyists have called for a three-year limit on visas for non-skilled workers.
The study agreed the general imbalance of the demographic structure between locals and expats was one of the main challenges which “made the native population a minority and raised concerns about the Arab and Islamic identity of the country”.
It recommended a correction of the current unbalanced distribution of population in the country. “Most of the people in the country live in Doha and the city enjoys most of the public services which the other towns lacked.”
“This situation has put much pressure on the services in the capital and made some to call it a city state. There is a need for redistributing the public services among all the towns in the country to correct the unbalanced distribution of population,” the study said.
It said the growth rate of the native population was not “steady” and called for encouraging marriages among Qatari citizens to increase the local population.
“Though Qatar’s population growth rate at 16.1% (2004-2008) is one of the highest in the world, the growth rate of the native population fell from 3.9% to 3.4% in the same period,” the study said.
The decline was attributed to the growing contribution of Qatari women to the labor market as well as the rising number of women attending schools and universities.
“There is a need to maintain high rate of fertility among the Qatari women by creating awareness,” the study said.