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Mon 25 Feb 2013 12:40 PM

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Qataris fear spread of expats - survey

Significant majority believe expats causing imbalance and stealing jobs in Gulf state

Qataris fear spread of expats - survey

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.

Alex 6 years ago

Where would you even begin to comment on this?

Yet another one of those polls which blames every issue on expats but fails to address the underlying problem: most GCC nationals are unable or unwilling to provide the human capital necessary to match their country's unrealistic ambitions.

Abdullah 6 years ago

I agree with Alex. Why to blame expats for doing jobs you can't do or job's you would never do like "low profile jobs".
You can simply lower your expectations in life and enjoy your country with 0 expats.
It is simple, just go ahead and do it if you can.

Mark X 6 years ago

Dear Qataris,

The number of Expats in your country are not illegal immigrants or people who landed on your shores by boats at night, but the people imported by your country to do the work which you do not want to do yourself or the work you can not do yourself. I am sure there are educated and qualified Qatari personnel who are usefully employed but the pace of development undertaken by your country can not find all such professionals from within the country, therefore the need to import - and these are the expats. However, there must be sufficient number of people in Qatar who can do the labour related works and the domestic works, but how many of you actually are willing to do these types of works? Almost ZERO. Therefore, lots of domestic workers who perhaps get treated like slaves. Furthermore, if you were to respect the right of women to work, there can be many women who could contribute to your economy and values. The answers lies with yourselves - take your pick.

kaz 6 years ago

A survey carried out on some very deluded people it seems!

phil 6 years ago

it must be nice to live on planet Qatar for these young Qataris. it shows a deep ignorance or misunderstanding on how their own society works, or perhaps the usual wishful thinking 'we could do this' with no consequent action. it takes more than ribbon cutting pictures in the newspapers and a big stamp on the desk for documents to make a society work with native skills.

SAM 6 years ago

When your government grants visas for expats to work, they will come. When your government cancels their visas, expats will leave. You have an issue with that, talk to your government. Unlike other countries, you are not dealing with refugees or immigrants, so your government has absolutely no restrictions on removing expats from the country. This endless whining in this region only shows the uselessness and immaturity of the many. Expats do not owe you anything and you are not doing anyone any favors; it is a contract whereby services are exchanged for consideration.

Tarek 6 years ago

I have been living in Qatar for the past 11 years and let me assure everyone that there is ZERO unemployment within Qataris, including women. The government is very supportive for the locals and I don't think there are more "pampered" citizens in the world! The only Qataris who don't work are those who choose not to work, and even when they do, the governments pay them very generous "unemployment benefits".
The demographic imbalance is actually created by the Qatari people themselves and not the government; the majority of the expat works in private sector companies owned by Qatari businessmen, and the insistence of Qataris on using domestic help (minimum of 2 in every household) is making the issue even more imbalanced. I found the statement mentioned above in the article hilarious: "Qataris also called on authorities to implement strategies to reduce families’ “over-reliance” on domestic workers" !!!! Tell it to yourselves people !!!!

realiste 6 years ago

Am never sure why these sort of surveys are done.

The number of expats is proportionate to the work that needs to be done minus the number of Qataris (locals) that are willing to do it.

So the answer is simple.

If Qataris wont work in all fields and industries at all levels, either bring in expats to do the work or stop any advancement and improvement in Qatar.

The Avenger 6 years ago

I'm afraid the Qatari's know the price of everything and the value of nothing .

A nation that has wealth beyond imagination but yet they're struggling with their identity and what the future holds .

There's around 250,000 Qatari's in the country and when you take the percentage of those that are eligible to work and then work out how many will be qualified and experienced for senior roles then your not left with many more .

Qatar has a social timebomb but the Qatari's are more interested in the latest Rolex or Nissan Patrol then driving their country forward as their leaders hope .

An interesting few years ahead for this tiny Gulf state

Abdul 6 years ago

No, I am tired of all of you who keep reiterating that GCC people are lazy or unqualified to do a job, and this I contend is with an agenda and that agenda is so you can keep your jobs. There will always be sectors that GCC nationals will not want to work in at a 'blue collar' level, however, what this article points out is that young Qataris what opportunities to enter the jobforce at a trainee level in order to work up the corporate ladder and young women want a common mindset to change so that they also have job opportunities. The GCC needs to take a long hard look at the types of nationalities that they are bringing in droves to work in their nation in jobs that GCC nationals could hold and some of those are in the public sector. You speak like all these expats are a brilliant addition to the workforce when GCC nations struggle cope with the large influx of issues caused by expats - they are stating that it is overwhelming to them.