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Showing expats the door to leave

Showing expats the door to leave

Reports say Gulf labor ministers are again debating six- or five-year residency cap for expats.

August 18, 2008 10:11 by

Many expats in the Gulf may have to start packing their bags. Reports suggest that labor ministers are currently discussing whether foreign workers’ stay in the region, should be capped at five or six years.
The plan, targeting unskilled and semi-skilled workers, first came up last year. The final decision on the cap was supposed to be made at the GCC summit in Doha, but was postponed after public outcry.
Now it seems like the labour ministers are hoping to bring the proposal back to the table.

The reason for the cap is reportedly to stop the erosion of local culture and to reduce the soaring unemployment among nationals.
Now, since the cap is aimed at the unskilled sector, does it mean that taxi drivers are “eroding the region’s culture”? Or does it follow that nationals of Gulf states are going to start doing the construction and cleaning jobs in the region?
The only obvious benefit of the cap seems to be that it will give a chance for laborers to meet their families after every five/six years, though ,most probably, without a job.

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  1. Siva on August 19, 2008 12:40 pm


    Sorry if I am sounding pessimistic. I really dont think Gulf states can sustain without the expat populations. All the rapid growth of Dubai (UAE) and Qatar is purely based on movement of the expat population, who bring in their expertise and talent to the region. Without them, region loses its momentum, and will fail to achieve any further growth, leading to decline in progress made in many aspects.

    Already the region has started feeling the shortage of labourers, due to rising sub continent economies… This step will bring a greater momentum for shortage of labour supplies to the region.

  2. John Eclipse on August 19, 2008 6:04 pm

    the region is already not being able to hire qualified staff in many fields because of the sudden emergence of new roles in the region and concepts that were never available therefore how would that cope with the rule cap been in place plus how would you expect to have experienced people in the right jobs if they were shifted and thrown out of each country every six years or so, what about the new generations that are having their education here, not only families complain about the high tuition fees but if those young kids who graduate find themselves after 6 years of experience thrown in a new market where they have no clue about how the economy, culture or business is run, i do not see any benefit to the expats nor to the local community and of the GCC states, why would people eventually think of visiting then any of the GCC states if this rule is there, what and how will the real estate industry cope with this especially that all these expats have invested in property and owns one, so is it that i cannot visit and live in my appartment which i bought and saved all my life for here!!!!!!!

  3. Ameer on August 20, 2008 2:20 am

    Oh! my God; what is this “the reason for the cap is reportedly to stop the erosion of local culture” is it a joke. Tell real fact “the soaring unemployment among nationals” dont blame expats.

  4. arty on August 20, 2008 8:42 am

    i dont think the rent cap is a good idea. what erosion of culture is caused by construction workers, cleaners, or other workmen? definitely these positions will not be taken by the indigeneous population and not at the price even that our expat workmen come at. why not just continue with the way things are and aim at reducing shortages in this sector?

  5. Rafiq on August 25, 2008 9:11 am

    A question not a comment: What is your suggestion how the “erosion of local culture” can be stopped with such an overwhelming number of expatriates (from various cultures) ?

  6. jane reynolds on September 3, 2008 5:24 am

    It’s all down to the numbers. There aren’t enough locals within the population of the Gulf to do the jobs, especially those requiring international experience. Gulf nationals could do themselves a favour and integrate more, then some of the skills of their employees might rub off on them. ‘Local Culture’ is preserved within the local community, few ex-pats get a glimpse of it.

  7. mike moray on September 3, 2008 5:43 am

    Local culture? What’s that then? Dish-dashes and Abaya’s? Sharia Law? I don’t see those disappearing anytime soon – no disrespect intended. There’s no evidence in the Gulf of local culture – this isn’t Europe, the Far East or the Americas. I think this is just a case of the Emperor’s new clothes again – say it and it makes it so. Utter nonsense and an excuse to chuck people out willy-nilly. The problem with the Gulf is government’s so absolutely no commitment to those who come and work in the Gulf States. It’s blatant : ‘come and work, earn your money, we will treat you how we like, and then go home’. Really long term thinking that.

  8. Lianne on October 30, 2008 2:16 pm

    Frankly, the labor ministers are barking at the wrong tree as to who’s “eroding the local culture.” Local culture, however defined, belongs to the local people, and it is their responsibility to preserve it, regardless of the presence or absence of expat influence.
    I am grateful for the openness that the Gulf, so far, has shown expat workers, but I will not apologize for taking on jobs that most locals don’t even want to do.

  9. Jayan Nair on November 19, 2008 11:32 am

    From Petrol to drinking water, the rich Middle eastern countries need the expats. It is these citizens who should be worrying about their bleak future with low oil revenue, and no one to work for them, if all expats leave. Well, utopian, but not impossible.

  10. Anonymous on November 24, 2008 12:39 am

    I think the main reason for the erosion of local culture are the petro-dollars which came in the GCC which transformed a society from being well-known for its hospitality into materialistic barbarians who think that other humans besides them are disposable commodities.

    While many can laugh this proposal off; in my opinion, there is a likely threat that this could possibly occur since this would win them popularity amongst their nationals (who are bieng pampered by state media as bieng victims of expatriates and capitalist businessmen) but in the end, this action, if implemented will lead to more economic chaos which the region can’t afford during global recession.

  11. Peter Peter on December 1, 2008 4:58 pm

    “Got a headache ? Take a gun and blow your brains out. So what if you will die, at least you will have ended the headache , right ?”

    Well known GCC proverb ?

  12. Ali on December 17, 2008 1:37 am

    I agree with the anonymous guy, yes the gulf people have been completely transformed from nice hospitible people into people who suspect that if you say hello to them, then you need their money ! I think the bigest danger on their “culture” is derived from the exceesive oil money. Just imagine the gulf without oil ? how many expat will be working there ?skilled Expat immigration won’t be a problem to the gulf as long as the cooks,maids, drivers, hairdressors, mechanics… don’t leave.

  13. Peter Peter on January 12, 2009 10:03 am

    Once again that wonderful stroke of genius from the local authorities.

    Do they really believe that the “local” youth will roll up their sleeves and get down to work as they do in Oman ? You got a hope !

    The real problem is that there are so many free handouts from th government that the locals feel no pressure to find work.

    Take away the Freebies and educate them in the value of a good
    honest day’s work and there may be some hope for this country.


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