UAE Axes Expat Government Jobs

By |

The cull of expat professionals in the Gulf is continuing with the sacking of staff in a top Abu Dhabi government department to make way for local workers.

Between 50 and 60 expats have had their jobs axed in United Arab Emirate (UAE) state’s General Secretariat of the Executive Council.

The government has yet to confirm the precise number of sackings.

The department is the central administrative section of the government.

The move follows a general trend in Gulf countries to reduce reliance on expats in favour of providing jobs to local workers.

Most Gulf countries have large expat populations who carry out tasks from sweeping the streets to helping draft government policy.

Arab Spring fears

Abu Dhabi has also demanded that all government staff, including expats, move to the emirate, and has undergone a huge program of building schools, roads and hospitals to cope with the influx.

Many public sector workers prefer to live in nearby Dubai and commute to work daily. The trip is about a two hour drive.

They say Dubai has more choice of accommodation and a better lifestyle with plenty of leisure and shopping facilities.

Other Gulf states attempting to reduce expat numbers include Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia has introduced fines for companies who employ too many expats ahead of locals and is deporting thousands of foreign workers who have forged or no working permits.

Qatar also has a program of repatriating expats.

Key to the policy is most Gulf Co-Operation Council countries – which include Bahrain, Kuwait,

Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – have growing numbers of well-educated and unemployed youngsters.

Expat restrictions

The leaders have noticed that Arab Spring unrest in many Arab countries was triggered by the unfair distribution of wealth and dissatisfaction over jobs and are working to avoid a similar conflict across the Gulf.

In Saudi Arabia, around 200,000 trained and professional expats have left the country in recent months.

The government reckons around 2 million more are in the country with papers showing the wrong work and residency status and want them to come forward to correct their papers.

Under the Nitaqat system, the Saudi government can impose fines and sanctions on firms hiring expats without the correct work permits.

Gulf state governments are also tightening up restrictions on expats. The Saudi government has warned expats failing to observe Ramadan or even chewing gum during the religious month face fines and deportation.

Qatar is threatening to fine expats caught in public without a government ID card $2,500

Leave a Comment