24 January, 2021

Return Of The Native

India's Gulf boom might end with the Arab world further nativising its workforce

Return Of The Native
It marks the beginning of the end of the Great Gulf Boom. For, powerful waves of nationalism—called Saudiisation, Omanisation and Emiratisation—are sweeping across countries in West Asia. And there's a sense of desperation among these governments to replace foreign workers (including millions of Indians) with locals. The reason: huge unemployment that has led to growing civil unrest, higher crime rates and increasing hatred for the ruling classes. In the near future, it could prove to be the end of the road for massive labour flows from India to the Gulf region.

To gauge the extent of the problem, look at a few decisions taken by the Saudi Arabia regime. A few weeks ago, it told employers in 21 segments to have a fully Saudiised workforce by 2006. This is expected to create 2,00,000 jobs for locals. Then, jewellery shops were barred from employing foreigners as salesmen and administrators; a move that will open up another 20,000 jobs. Finally, local banks have to get rid of their 10,000 foreign workers. By 2013, Saudi Arabia hopes to reduce its expat population of 7...


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