By Lynne Roberts
Controversial proposal not likely to be endorsed by all GCC states, officials say.
A controversial six-year residency cap on expatriate workers in the Gulf is unlikely to be introduced, senior officials told a newspaper on Saturday.
“A ceiling on all expatriates working in the Gulf is unlikely, as all the Gulf states may not endorse a proposal of this magnitude in the near future”, ‘a source close to Gulf policymakers’ told Times of Oman at the 35th Arab Labour Conference in Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt.
“At present, out of over 35 million people living in the Gulf, more than 13 million (37%) are foreign workers. If a cap of this magnitude is imposed, it will force a significant portion of the expatriates currently living in the Gulf to return home,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed government official as saying.
Bahrain's Labour Minister Majeed Al-Alawi proposed the six-year residency cap last October, fearing expatriate workers were eroding the national character of states in the Gulf.
The plan was initially backed by the six GCC member states, but officials admitted in January it could be shelved after it sparked outrage among expatriate communities, and was widely criticised by businesses already struggling to retain staff.