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Expatriate workforce Major Worry: UAE Minister

The Gulf countries are facing major challenge in its dependence over expatriate workforce, while expecting another five million local job hunters in the next ten years, said Dr Ali Abdullah Al Kaabi, UAE Minister for Labour.

He was taking part in a documentary programme titled Tsunami Alkhaleej aired by AlJazeera Channel yesterday which highlighted the workers situation in the Gulf countries and the kind of problems they are facing and creating.

The Gulf countries are not ready to give these migrant workers any civil rights, according to Dr Abdul Khalig Abdullah, a Political Science Professor at the UAE University who was also participating at the programme.

"These people did not come here to stay forever, they came for work, earn a living and go back to their country" he said.

"The migrant workers are already controlling the cultural and business activities in certain areas and if an election is conducted at any GCC country, I am sure that they will take over the legislative authority as well", said Dr Majeed Al Alawi, Labour Minister of Bahrain.

"The Singaporean experience proves its success, why don't we repeat it in our regions?" he asked.

International organisations and some powerful countries are not doing enough to force GCC nations giving the migrants their rights.

"As long as they need the oil and they are taking advantages from the GCC government I don't think they take any action in this regard" said Dr Ibrahim Gadir, from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Bahraini labour minister suggested that the GCC countries should make agreement to allow migrant workers moving freely in these countries.

"By doing this we will not lose skilled workers and at the same time we can keep our identity" he said.

Is it a solution to replace the Asian workers with the Arab?, asked Al Kaabi. "In 2020 there will be 100m unemployed persons in the Arab world, I think this will be good solution" said the UAE minister.

However, his Bahraini counterpart disagreed. "The Asian workers are better and they accept low salaries" he said.

Talking about democracy in the region Al Kaabi said the Gulf countries are doing better compared to some Arab countries." (The Peninsula)

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