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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Financial crisis hurts Dubai's foreign labour force

The global financial crisis has come to the Gulf emirates, and to its once-booming real estate sector. Thousands of labourers who had come -- mainly from the Indian subcontinent -- to work on building projects may now be expelled, or forced to work illegally.
Migrant workers make up over 85% of the population of the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

A booming construction area with dozens of large multi phase developments such in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other emirates include projects such as the Burj Dubai, Ski Dubai, Dubailand and the Mall of Arabia.

Migrant workers make up virtually every category of employee in the UAE from CEOs and engineers to cement mixers, drivers, accountants and janitors.

Highly skilled and educated workers from western nations come to the Middle East for tax free income and often increased wages and opportunity. Most attention to migrant workers focuses on the manual laborers.

Numbering over 300,000, manual laborers make up a large amount of the population. Attention has focused on these workers for their wages and working conditions which are generally poor by western standards.

Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and other wealth oil exporting nations also have large numbers of migrant workers who are mostly focused on building infrastructure and implementing the huge investments made by these countries. Workers come from all over the world in addition to the higher paid, educated and skilled workers from the UK, US, Ireland and throughout Europe and Asia, manual laborers come from Myanmar (Burma), India, Pakistan, Somalia or other countries. India and Pakistan also have a large number of highly skilled and highly paid workers.

Lack of unions and organized labor makes life for the construction workers very different from the US however most workers are very happy for the opportunity and the economics of wage equalization exist because of a very liberal work immigration policy and a robust economy.

Favorable taxes and opportunity make the region popular for guest workers.



Tags: workers construction unions building labor uae united arab emirates middle east migrant slavery human trafficking immigration open Indian Pakistani third world second cab driver working conditions

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