The labor minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is heavily dependent on foreign labor, said Sunday that every job filled by an expatriate was considered vacant for Emirate nationals.
"Job opportunities are considered vacant positions for nationals as long as they are in the hands of expatriates," Matar Humaid al-Tayer told The Gulf Today.
Tayer warned that the accumulated number of Emirati job seekers would reach 100,000 by 2005, urging the nationalization of private sector jobs in the Gulf emirate.
"The percentage of UAE nationals in the private sector is 1.3 percent, around 12,000 nationals," Tayer said. "This means that our economy is not in the hands of nationals."
The UAE has a burgeoning yet generous state sector that offers no incentive to Emirate nationals to strike out into the private sector, where hours are longer and wages lower.
Foreigners account for as much as 85 percent of the UAE's 2.7 million population and more than 90 percent of the workforce, with Indians and Pakistanis at the top of the foreigners' list.
Bangladeshis are among the lowest paid construction workers in the UAE, at around 300 Dirhams ($82 ) a month plus food and accommodation, while Pakistanis earn around 500 to 600 Dirhams ($135 and $165).
Afghanistan, Iran and the Philippines also have large communities in the Emirates.
Although the six Gulf Arab oil monarchies are reluctant to give official or accurate figures for the number of expatriate workers, unofficially there are 10 million out of a total Gulf population of 25 million. – (AFP, Dubai)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )