Expat workers to drive Qatar population growth

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Qatar's population is predicted to grow by a third in the next 20 years, driven by a continuing influx of expat workers needed for the Gulf state's burgeoning industries.

In 2030, the population is set to reach 2.4 million, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2010, Euromonitor said in a report published on Tuesday.

The study said immigration will account for about 74 percent of the net increase in Qatar’s total population over the next two decades.

Driven by immigration, Qatar’s population grew at an average rate of nearly 12 percent per year in 2000-2010 but the pace will slow dramatically between 2020-2030 to just 1.2 percent per year.

Qatar's rapid growth has been achieved, like other countries in the Gulf region, by the import of labour from across the world and, in particular, parts of Asia.

"No estimates are available concerning the remittances sent home by immigrants working in Qatar. However, the sum is thought to be billions of US dollars," Euromonitor International said.

It added that immigration was very tightly controlled and there were few illegal immigrants in the Gulf state.

The largest concentration of residents in 2030 will be among those between 25-50 years old, accounting for more than half of the total population.

However, the number of those aged 19-32 years old will fall by 148,000 in 2010-2030, a 21.5 percent drop compared to 2010, Euromonitor International added.

"Demographic changes are being driven by a massive influx of immigrants which began around 2000 but will fall off rapidly in the future," the report said.

The study added that the number of residents will first exceed two million in 2016, just 10 years after it passed the benchmark of 1 million.

Between 1980 and 2030, the country’s population will increase more than tenfold.

The country’s pool of potential workers (15-64 years) will rise by 448,000 in 2010-2030 – an increase of 29.8 percent, Euromonitor International said.

The share of expats in Qatar will continue to rise slowly in the future. In 2010, 79.7 percent of all residents were foreign citizens and by 2030 this figure will rise to 81.3 percent.

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