Demand for foreign workers still high in Gulf countries: study

Posted at 06/27/2012 5:39 PM | Updated as of 06/27/2012 5:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Employment opportunities in the Gulf Regions remains strong despite political and financial turmoil that some countries in the region are experiencing.

“Despite the political uprisings and civil unrest in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the region is still witnessing moderate growth, and in the Gulf countries there is an even stronger imperative to sustain economic growth and meet social needs. We expect opportunities for international workers to remain strong and with that remittance flows from host to home countries.” said Jean-Claude Farah, Western Union’s Senior Vice President for the Middle East and Africa.

Farah was referring to the result of the Western Union sponsored study called "The Economic Impact of the Uprisings in the MENA Region". The study said that economic forecasts for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are much better than those for the Middle East North Africa Region (MENA).

The GCC countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The Asia Pacific region has been a significant source of labor for Gulf countries – led by India, Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and Nepal.  This study should instill greater confidence for global workers seeking employment in these countries”, said Drina Yue, Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific.

Authored by Dr. Ahmed Farouk Ghoneim, professor of Economics at the Cairo University, he said the real GDP growth in the GCC was expected to remain strong despite short-term disturbances, from a base of 3.1% to 20% in 2011.

“In relative terms, the financial crisis and oil and food price increases have had only mild effects on MENA economies, owing to their limited integration into the world economy,” he said, adding, however, that Gulf countries did face modest inflationary pressures from increased social spending.

Within the MENA region, Dr. Ghoneim said, labor markets are facing different types of problems, but “migration and remittances constitute a common cure” for high unemployment in some countries of the region and the need for workers to sustain growth in others.