Rise in school enrolment 'disproves expat exodus'

DIFC head says 2% rise in South Asian school enrolment shows expat exodus theory 'empty'.
Rise in school enrolment 'disproves expat exodus'
By Joanna Hartley
Mon 01 Jun 2009 03:26 PM

A two percent rise in children from South Asian families being enrolled in Dubai schools is an indication that the emirate's expatriate population is stable and not falling, according to a senior government official.

Speaking at an event for Indian and Pakistani businesspeople on Monday Omar bin Sulaiman, governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said that the figures on enrollment since April proved that talk about an expat exodus at the end of June was “empty”.

The Indian and Pakistani communities were the two largest foreign groups in Dubai, and could be used as a barometer for overall population and economic trends, Sulaiman added, according to a report in UAE daily Khaleej Times.

"Given that these communities represent a large portion of the Dubai expatriate population, this is another sign that, despite the empty talk of sceptics, there is a continuing flow of real data showing the stability of the expatriate population," he said.

"We are confident that similar results will be found in other expatriate schools with the start of their new academic year in the fall."

The schools data was gathered as part of a study on Indian and Pakistani schools by the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority and presented to the Indian Business & Professional Council.

However, it comes a week after Arabian Business reported that removal firms in the Emirates were gearing up for a bumper summer as expatriates from the UK, South Africa and Australia were looking to move home once the school year finished at the end of June.

In another twist Hamad Buamim, director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, revealed on Saturday in a speech to the chamber that Dubai's population had seen "recent" growth of eight percent.

Neither Sulaiman, who is also deputy director of the UAE Central Bank, or Buamim gave any further details on their respective figures.

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