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A new era for labour migration in the GCC?

Philip L. Martin, Froilan Malit


The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are among the most dependent on foreign workers to fill private-sector jobs. A combination of lower oil prices and rapid native labour force growth has given new impetus to efforts to diversify GCC economies away from oil and encourage natives to fill private sector jobs. This article summarizes the current status of foreigners and foreign workers in GCC countries and considers several scenarios, including maintaining the status quo, improving protections for foreign workers in countries of destination (CODs) and countries of origin (COOs), and changing the current migration system to employ fewer and more skilled workers.


Gulf Cooperation Council; migration; development; skilled workers

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