Labour Migration to the United Arab Emirates - A Field Study on Regular and Irregular Migration in Dubai
Abstract: Massive recruitment of foreign labour occurred in all Gulf States since the beginning of oil exploitation in 1973. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the foreign population accounted for up to 75 per cent of the total population and up to 90 per cent of the labour force in 2000. Even though the migration system is of temporary character, many foreign workers spend dozens of years in the country.This study aims to reveal two fundamental issues. On one hand, it will be shown why a sample of migrant workers came to the United Arab Emirates. Contemporary theories on international migration will be presented to analyze the results of the field study undertaken during four weeks in the emirate of Dubai. On the other hand, living and working conditions for those migrant workers in the UAE are presented. Formal regulations and international conventions are compared to the actual practices in the UAE. Special focus will be given to formal regulations and widespread informal practices that easily generate irregularity.
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