How secure are expat jobs in the GCC bloc?

Published:  29 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE, Jobs
Job security is an important part of the relocation decision, with GCC policies on drastic reductions of the number of expat employees causing would-be expatriate professionals to reconsider.

Across the GCC, policies based on the reduction of expat professionals have increased foreign workers’ concerns about the safety of their jobs at a time when home country economic conditions are deteriorating. For example, government jobs across the region are now almost completely taken by locals, following the termination of expats’ contracts across the board. As a result, localization is now spreading into the public sector, causing expatriate employees to fear for their jobs.

Over 25 million expats are still living and working in the GCC region, a total of around 50 per cent of the entire population of 51 million. Qatar’s foreign employment total stands at 91 per cent of the emirate’s population, with the UAE accounting for 89 per cent, Kuwait holding 72 per cent and Bahrain at 54 per cent. The GCC’s job resettlement policies, supposedly driven by high unemployment figures due to lack of opportunity for locals and recent graduates, have been described as a form of prejudice combined with a lack of the public will to work in the heavily subsidised emirates.

During the first three quarters of 2018, over 800,000 Saudi-based expat workers lost their jobs in both the private and public sectors, leaving just under 10 million foreign employees, a fall of eight per cent. In addition, large numbers of expats in the UAE left of their own accord, due to increasing charges, fees, taxes and cut-offs of many job sectors formerly available to foreign workers. In particular, Kuwait has come down hard on their expatriate workers, including experienced professionals working in essential jobs in the oil and gas industry.
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