A significant majority of Qataris are concerned about the “proliferation” of expats, claiming they are causing a demographic imbalance and stealing jobs, a government report has found.
More than 80 percent of Qataris believe the Gulf nation is suffering from a “demographic problem”, with youths more likely to be worried, according to a survey by the Permanent Population Committee (PPC).
Most Qataris feared the country was becoming too reliant on servants and recruited expats, while locals were delaying marriage, leading to a declining population growth rate.
Expats make up at least 85 percent of Qatar’s population of 1.9m and that figure could rise as the country prepares for the World Cup 2022.
The country is relying on imported workers to help it build new stadiums and hotels for the international event. Yet 62.7 percent of Qataris who responded to the survey believe the country can achieve the work while also reducing its reliance on foreign workers.
Nearly all of the survey respondents (97.4 percent) said combating trafficking was the best way to reduce the number of expats in Qatar, while 95.6 percent called for modernising production and training Qataris to replace expats in various jobs.
About 84 percent suggested increasing the proportion of women in the workforce as a way to reduce foreign worker numbers. That would require educating men to accept women’s participation, the report says.
However, the PPC acknowledged that the reliance on foreign workers would continue to rise, before again falling.
“The more the country's economy grows and expands, the more demand on foreign workers increases,” the report said.
“Therefore, since the previous development projects required the recruitment of large numbers of foreign workers, the future development projects and basic projects supporting Qatar hosting of World Cup 2022 would require recruiting more foreign workers as well, generating accordingly a new change in the Qatar labour market structure.”
The survey also found that less than one-fifth of Qataris claimed they would accept a job in the private sector if they were offered a higher wage than their public sector position.
About 94 percent are so concerned about the country’s cultural dimension, they said preserving the national culture and identity was more important than advancement.
Qataris also called on authorities to implement strategies to reduce families’ “over-reliance” on domestic workers.
Meanwhile, survey responses were particularly concerned about young Qataris putting off marriage, “which consequently sharpen the imbalance of the country’s population structure”.
The report subsequently suggests encouraging youth marriage, “reducing marriage delay problems”, and encouraging families to reduce the value of dowries and wedding expenses.