Oman


GCC calls for cut in expat numbers


Expat construction workers at a building site in Muscat, Oman. File photo

Muscat: Manpower and labour ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in their first meeting held in Kuwait on Wednesday, called for reducing the "extreme and uncalled for" dependence on expatriates in the job markets and instead training and hiring locals to avoid such implications.

They also discussed a series of issues related to initiatives regarding freedom of work, residence and movement as well as equal treatment of the nationals from these countries.

They also discussed wider issues like planning and procedures when it comes to providing job opportunities in the private sector, as reported by the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, is heading the Omani delegation at the conference.

Dr Abdul Lateef Al Zeyani, secretary general of the GCC, said that it has already been emphasised in the past that measures should be taken to improve the educational standards and vocational training.

"The major challenges being faced by the Gulf countries are common, with some differences.

Though the ratio of recruitment of local manpower is now different in each country of the region, yet they would face the same problem in future. The extreme and uncalled for dependence on foreign workers has economic, social, security and legal implications," said Zeyani.  

Hind Barrak Al Sabih, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs of Kuwait was quoted by KUNA as saying that this meeting would implement the decisions of the Supreme Council of labour sector.

It would also implement the decisions taken at the 127th session which was held in Jeddah in 2013. She also said that the Supreme Council called for intensification of employment of locals to replace expatriates in the Gulf countries.

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I dont think this idea is good for the GCC.. as of now the GCC locals are still few in numbers in order to replace the workforce the expatriates are doing and its not necessary that if an expatriate exits a local can replace him specially in the construction area in which most of the GCCs are into.




Perhaps a solution would be to accept neighbouring Arab refugees, grant them (their brothers) permanent residence (as the west has been doing for decades) and have them fill the labour shortage.