Gulf states prepare for demographic shift as migrant workforces return home, with prospects bleak for those who stay
Zusammenfassender Bericht im Guardian vom 09.06. über die Situation der Migrationsarbeiter*innen in den Golfstaaten
Across the Middle East, the labour forces that have greased the wheels of the oil states’ economies, cleaned the homes of the middle classes and often raised their children, are suddenly on the move. The twin crises of Covid-19 and unprecedented financial stress has forced a reckoning like no other between employers and labour companies on one hand and masses of workers from all parts of the world. […]
The Middle East, and especially Gulf states, employ the highest proportion of migrant workers in the world. In the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, migrants substantially outnumber the overall national population, while Saudi Arabia has most foreign workers overall with 12 million, compared with its national population of 20 million.
While the region has fared relatively well in the coronavirus crisis, tens of thousands of people have still been struck down by the virus, the vast majority being migrant workers. Gulf governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on stimulus packages to shore up the livelihoods of citizens but have offered no direct financial relief for the migrants who in countries such as Qatar and the UAE make up more than 87% of the population. […]
“Dependence on expat workers in vulnerable sectors means the burden of job losses will fall on the expat population,” Scott Livermore, the chief economist at Oxford Economics Middle East, writes in the study. “Combined with visas depending on employment and lack of a social safety net, an expat exodus is likely as travel restrictions are eased. This could result in the population declining by between 4% (in Saudi Arabia and Oman) and around 10% (in the UAE and Qatar).”
Näheres zur genannten Studie von Oxford Economics findet sich unter https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-22/oxford-economics-sees-exodus-of-expat-workers-from-across-gcc
The report also said:
- “The GCC is in recession as lockdowns to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and the ramifications of low oil prices hit the non-oil economies. As a result, employment across the GCC could fall by around 13%, with peak-to-trough job losses of some 900,000 in the UAE and 1.7m in Saudi Arabia”
- “Dependence on expat workers in vulnerable sectors means the burden of job losses will fall on the expat population. Combined with visas depending on employment and lack of a social safety net, an expat exodus is likely as travel restrictions are eased. This could result in the population declining by between 4% (in Saudi Arabia and Oman) and around 10% (in the UAE and Qatar).
- “While an expat exodus may mean that the GCC ‘exports’ some of the impact of recession, it will also have some adverse consequences on key sectors, such as possible labor shortages as the hospitality sector recovers, an additional drag on property markets and potential price pressures in certain quarters.”