Gulf countries employ highest number of foreign workers

Published 28.01.2016 00:00

A total of 17 million foreign employees who are working in various business sectors in member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transferred capital worth $80 billion from these countries in 2014.

According to a report released by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Research Center, Gulf countries ranked first in the world in terms of the number of foreign workers they employ. The report said there are 17 million foreign workers in Gulf countries and that the number of foreigners living in the Gulf region increases to 23 million when the families of workers are included in those figures.

"Gulf countries; namely, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Oman, have rich oil and natural gas reserves and therefore need a foreign labor force. What these countries lack the labor force is provided by other countries, as locals with high incomes do not prefer to work as employees," the report said.

According to the Al Jazeera Research Center, Gulf countries accept workers from all parts of the world, with Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka sending the highest number of workers to the region.

Saudi Arabia ranks first, with 9 million employed foreign workers, followed by the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain with 4 million, 1.5 million, 1.1 million, 900,000 and 500,000 foreign workers, respectively. The total number of employed foreign workers constitutes more than half of the total population of the Gulf countries combined, with the exception of Saudi Arabia.

The data disclosed by the Gulf Research Center's Gulf Labor Markets and Migration Unit for 2014 indicates that foreign workers constituted 52 percent of Bahrain's population that year. Further, a breakdown of the foreign workforce in the Gulf includes 85.7 percent in Qatar, 88.5 percent in the UAE, 69 percent in Kuwait, 44 percent in Oman and 32.7 percent of the total Saudi population. The number of foreign workers corresponds with 48 percent of the entire population of the Gulf region.

The report indicates that foreign employees working in Gulf countries transferred a considerable amount of capital and economic funding to their native countries in 2014. According to data, foreign workers transferred $35 billion in capital from Saudi Arabia, $16 billion from the UAE, $12 billion from Kuwait, $8 billion from Qatar, $7.5 billion from Oman and $1.5 billion from Bahrain, bringing the annual transfer of capital to a staggering $80 billion.

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