The population of the UAE currently stands at around six million with Emiratis making up 16.5 percent, according to the results of two major studies, it was reported on Wednesday.
The figures, up nearly two million on the 2005 census results, were based on two research projects carried out on visa registration and the number of people employed in the country, UAE daily Gulf News reported. The studies were compiled by the Department of Naturalisation and Residency, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour.
They revealed that the expatriate population in the UAE was rapidly increasing with the largest group made up of Indians, with 1.75 million currently residing in the country, the paper reported.
The second largest group was from Pakistan, with about 1.25 million while roughly 500,000 Bangladeshis live in the UAE, according to the studies.
Members of other Asian communities, including China, the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Afghanistan and Iran make up approximately one million of the total population, the research showed.
Western expatriates, from Europe, Australia, Northern Africa, Africa and Latin America make up 500,000 of the UAE population.
Last week, the former director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said the Gulf’s sprawling migrant workforce was potentially the biggest issue facing the region today.
Mike Moore, a former prime minister of New Zealand, warned that the sheer number of expatriates residing in the oil-rich Gulf states was tantamount to colonisation.
“The fundamental issue here is; where in history have local people been so overwhelmed by expats? In the past, we’ve called it colonisation. It’s how my country was founded,” he said.