Expat workers send home $20 billion a year: Gulf study
(AFP, MANAMA) - An estimated seven million foreign workers in the Gulf Arab states send home some 20 billion dollars a year and account for between 70 and 75 percent of the total workforce, according to a Gulf study published on Saturday.
The study by the General Committee for Bahrain Workers, carried in the paper Gulf Daily News, said the region's workforce continues to be heavily dependent on cheap foreign labor, mostly from Asia.
It warned that unemployment of Gulf nationals in the oil-rich region was set to rise because of a high annual population growth rate of 3.5 percent, outstripping economic growth.
Despite efforts to nationalize jobs and lessen reliance on foreign workers, the public sector is saturated and private companies are still opting for expatriates to cut costs, the report said.
The flight of capital from the region amounts to about 20 billion dollars a year in workers' remittances, it said. Unofficially, expatriates number some 10 million out of a total population of around 27 million in the six Gulf Arab states. Indians head the list of foreign workers, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Iranians and Afghans.
© Agence France-Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )