By Sara Hemrajani
Emirate is losing its identity, heritage and language to foreign workforce says Dahi Khalfan Tamim
Dubai should introduce a quota system to
keep the size of its expat population in check, the emirate’s chief of police
Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan
Tamim said that a check on the number of non-Arab foreign
workers is needed to preserve the UAE’s national identity.
keep the balance, I recommended a quota system that would ensure that the
number of other nationalities should not be more than UAE nationals and Arabs,”
Tamim was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
“We are concerned about losing our
identity, heritage and language. The new generation of Emiratis feels
Emiratis are a minority in the UAE, as a result of the country's ongoing need for foreign workers.
suggested that expatriates should only be allowed to reside in the UAE
if they are filling a specific skills shortage.
“If we go to any of other country to reside,
it is considered offensive; they do not allow us easily to reside, work or
invest,” he told the paper. “Each country has its own rules and conditions and we have to
do the same to preserve our national identity.”
an interview with Qatar TV on Saturday, Tamim had compared the Emirati
situation to that of Native Americans in the US, the paper said.
reports on the programme, Lakom al-Qarar” (The decision is yours) quoted Tamim
as drawing a line between Arab and non-Arab expatriates.
Arab national is like the son of the soil,” he was quoted as saying. “It is
easy to interact and have a better rapport with him as against the non-Arab
He is right on many instances. But introducing a quota system will backfire. Truth be told , the most hardworking, efficient and productive workforce are from the Indian subcontinent.
With India's rapid emergence, UAE and especially Dubai need to work closely and integrate with India, its historic partner for trade and business.The Indian population in the UAE, is very peace loving, pragmatic and benefits the UAE. It has similar cultural values with regards to family, religion and tolerance.UAE nationals feel isolated not because of expats, but perhaps the influx of TV, Internet, globalisation makes them lose their identity.
A very noble thought indeed. But then charity begins at home. It would be perfect if Emiratis employed UAE nationals as drivers, cooks, nannies...let there be a beginning somewhere.
While I can understand this concern, a quota system based on ethnicity of the individual, is surely racist. Expats must only be judged based on their ability to contribute to the labour force.
I am an expat, residing in UAE for over 35 years, studied, married and now my grown up kids are studying at University here. This is our home, we follow the rules and regulations, culture and traditions of this peace loving land. It is very difficult for us to know what future holds for expats like us, neither here nor there. Harry is right in mentioning the lose of identity is related to globalisation, influx of TV, internet. There is no way for the UAE and particularly Dubai to roll back all its infrastructure and marketing.
I can empathize with the views he presented here. However, this article and his quotes present a very "us' versus 'them' kind of view. To ever go down that road would be injustice to the expat community in the UAE and all they have done to propel this country to where it is. Truth be told, the expatriates are still the key growth drivers of the entire Middle East, that should never be forgotten. My only advice would be to continue to build an Emirati work force, encourage Emirati private sector employment. Capping the expatriate numbers is simply capping your own growth.
But who will work in Starbucks, Macdonalds and Debenhams then? Unless his comments are linked to the 15% Emirati Quota, then kudos to him.
Preserving the UAE's national identity depends on the current and next generation of Arabs who are too busy mimicking the western world - whether the foreigners leave or are limited to enter UAE, how to get the Arab kids to give up western clothes/food/language and attitude? Its very easy to point a finger at the foreigners in the country for a lack of national identity but how about looking into your own children's eagerness of wanting more of foreign things?We can't blame the extinction of Dinosaurs on the other animals who followed, its the circle of life - surely the UAE national identity can stand the test of time?
Ostensibly 3 reasons are given;
1. Security concerns
2. Alien cultural invasion with dilution of Emarati culture &
3. Loss of local jobs.
How many cases are there showing that South Asians are more of a threat than non GCC Arabs? Are there not a large number of Iranians who have got local passports, have relatives in Iran & visit frequently?
Don't locals send their kids to English schools offering British & US curriculum? How many go to western countries for higher education? Don't they watch Hollywood movies, TV channels & surf the net? Shall we ban all these?Dubai derives much income from foreign tourists; Shall we have a quota on them too?Majority of companies in free zones are owned by non Arab expats & their investments bring in Govt. revenue. Shall we restrict them with quotas too? Most low paid jobs are taken by expats.
Harry Winston is correct. The Indians and Iranians have made their way up from small time grocery, restaurants or trading to millionaires by hard working. On average they spend 16 hours in their business, sacrificed their personal and family life. Let us also not forget the deep bondage between Arab and Indian community from house workers, farm workers, hospital, clerical and managers of today.The country has the right to decide on the quota system now since the infrastructure is in place which can be maintained by any national. With quota system country may save their language, identity, etc. but other hand they will start getting the heat of politics or political related issues which will never come with Asians or Indians.
Now that the work of expats in the UAE is done, it is said to have a quota system.
It is getting interesting day by day.......It is said that if you want to know the country, know its Leaders.