The mystery of the missing masses
Officials say the UAE did not witness a mass exodus because of the global financial crisis. But what about all those people who lost their jobs?
January 4, 2010 11:11 by Aarti Nagraj
Early in 2009, global media reports were painting Dubai as practically a ghost town, saying that the economic slowdown was forcing most people to leave the city. Reports claimed that up to 3,000 cars had been abandoned at the airport because of the fleeing masses. In March last year, investment bank EFG-Hermes even predicted that Dubai’s population would probably decline by up to 17 percent in 2009, from 1.79 million in 2008 to 1.49 million.
In April UAE Labor Minister Saqr Ghobash rubbished these reports of a mass exodus from the country.
“Where are the statistics these reports are based upon? I can challenge these estimates, there is no way they are valid,” he said, adding that workers were merely being sent home for holidays.
But the financial crisis did lead to job cuts, and many people could not find new work opportunities. According to a poll by Kipp in June 2009, more than 24 percent of respondents said that they would be moving out of Dubai with their families after the end of the school year. And another 7 percent said they would be leaving during summer because they had been made redundant and were unable to find work in the city.