The GCC region is the most popular destination for temporary labour migrants of any world region, and flows have continued to increase over the past three decades.
In a recent article on the website of the Washington based Migration Policy Institute, two Oxford post-graduates, Froilan T Malit Jr and Ali Al Youha say that temporary labour migration has been the primary driver of population growth in the UAE since the 1990s, with labour migrants making the vast majority of the total population in 2013. They argue that flow of labour migrants to GCC countries is expected to grow in the coming decades, and will therefore remain a critical public policy challenge. The UAE – although one of the most liberal GCC countries and one that is seemingly proactive in addressing migration and human rights issues – still struggles to balance labour market needs with native-born employment and a host of other pressing concerns.
Malit and Al Youha argue that an important first step will be to strengthen efforts in data collection and knowledge sharing across the Emirates, for example to probe further into career trajectories of UAE nationals versus foreign-born professionals, or to identify the victims of human trafficking. Building on existing initiatives like the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, origin and destination countries could also expand data collection efforts to collectively ensure evidence-based policymaking and improved labour migration governance across the region.
You can read the full article on the MPI website here