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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.

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Dubai hit by economic downturn

It is often said that the Gulf region is immune to the global financial crisis.

This perception may be about to change as Dubai's boom starts to fizzle out.

With debts of up to $80m, Dubai could be in need of some urgent financial help.

Al Jazeera's Todd Baer reports.

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Dubai's Financial Crisis on Sky News

Dubai's Financial's Crisis

World Markets Up as Dubai Debt Tensions Ease

World stock markets rose sharply Tuesday after Dubai officials reported negotiations were underway to restructure 26 billion dollars in debt owed by a state-owned conglomerate. The announcement appears to have eased investor concerns, that began after the emirate said the country's investment arm, Dubai World, was seeking a six month delay in repaying nearly 60 billion dollars in debt.VOA's Mil Arcega has the latest.

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Dubai Debt Crisis

Dubai Debt Shock UAE Leaders Try To Steady Nerves Over Dubai Stocks Fall

UAE Leaders Try To Steady Nerves Over Dubai Stocks Fall

Source Zawya

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2009

DUBAI The leadership of the United Arab Emirates tried Tuesday to steady the nerves of investors after concerns over Dubai's debt crisis sent stock markets across the Gulf sharply lower for a second day.

In a public statement, Dubai's ruler stressed federal unity across the U.A.E. amid concern that oil-rich Abu Dhabi will remain on the sidelines as it struggles to restructure the debts of its government-owned companies.

The country is working on "enhancing integration between the federal and local frameworks," said Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also Prime Minister of the U.A.E.

Stocks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi fell sharply for a second day. The Dubai Financial Market's main index closed down 5.6% Tuesday, after falling 7.3% the previous day. Abu Dhabi shares closed down 3.6%. Shares in Qatar and Kuwait were also hit, with benchmark measures down 8.3% and 2.7% respectively.

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