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Title: Labour deployment and segmentation in the UAE, with particular reference to the contribution of foreign workers to the local economy
Author: bin Ham, Sheikh Muhammad Musallam Salem
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 2009
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis examines the efficacy of the government's current policy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) designed to reduce dependence on non-UAE labour by increasing the number and spread ofUAE nationals in the workforce. Foreign labour includes all those workers who enter the country on resident's visas and are issued with labour cards entitling them to work for a particular employer. It is the declared policy of the UAE government, at all levels (and in both local and national government) that there should be a reduction in the numbers of foreign workers employed, and the target is to halve the present total by 2010. The thesis relies on evidence from primary sources at all levels in the political, occupational and social domains, but whatever sector the research informants represent, they are mainly at the levels of decision makers, and opinion formers; politicians (of the Ruling Families), senior businessmen and industrialists in the public and private sectors and senior Civil Servants at the Under Secretary level. The thesis seeks to challenge the Government's assertion that it can afford to reduce the ex-patriot component of the labour force by half and still sustain steady economic growth. Many informants supported this view with comments like '... we will be overrun with foreigners', ' ... it is our country, why should we share our wealth with those who have no commitment to the Muslim states' and 'they come here, take jobs away from locals and then send the money out of the country'. Conversely, an Under Secretary at the Abu Dhabi Municipality stated, " ... our birth rate is high and will get progressively higher and this will filter into the labour force before long". The views expressed here were all tested in the research and found wanting. Based on the evidence, all these arguments can be rebuffed and therefore with it goes the credibility the Government's view of sustaining steady economic growth with half the numbers of ex-patriot workers. For example, the Under Secretary's view that the national birth rate will eventually neutralise the contribution ex-patriots are making to the economy, has he taken into consideration that the recent abolition of the Marriage Fund may reduce the marriages of locals to each other and therefore impact on the 'national' birth-rate. Will the offspring of a national woman and a Philippino father be regarded as nationals? When there are no manual workers to fill construction jobs, which locals refuse to do. Who will work on the construction sites which presently serves to sustain the economic growth and attract foreign investment? Where will the essential skilled knowledge workers come from? The evidence from the Head of Human Resources at Etisalat is that although there are an abundance of colleges in UAE for technical training, he still has to go to India to recruit technicians. The UAE sustains one of the highest standards of living in the GCC area. As a free trade area (shortly to initiate a single currency policy), there will be a major surge of many workers from less developed countries attracted by the higher standard of living in UAE and then the suggestion is to extend the Union beyond the present countries to undeveloped countries like Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, etc. The chapters, individually and collectedly serve to explore in depth the substance of the Government's assertion. That is the vision of Emiritisation by the year 2010 when the local labour force will be able to sustain the present levels of growth without excessive foreign labour. Suggestions are highlighted and recommendations made on how this growth can be sustained, but the evidence gathered supports the view that the focus should shift from numbers of ex-pats to the cultural and attitudinal changes of the local which need to be made when the jobs in the public sector no longer exist. Changes such as locals preferring to be unemployed than to taking jobs in the private sectors, the role and function of women's participation in the labour force, a shift away from traditional Islamic values by the young and an increase in crime, drug abuse, alcoholism and car accidents. All anathema to the dictates of the Holy Koran and to the older, pioneering generation, generally. These variables will all be researched in depth by the use of qualitative methods and used to establish the conclusions and support the recommendations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: H Social Sciences