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Wed 7 Oct 2009 07:08 AM

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UAE population hits 6m, Emiratis make up 16.5%

Growth of nearly 2 million since 2005, Indians are largest expat group - studies.

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.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Dan 10 years ago

Isnt it time that the non Emarati majority residents had more of a say on domestic issues, those of us who have spend many years here, and invested in the development and prpperty here deserve more say in matters that affect our families future and prosperity. How about a seat allocation for long term residents who are non ethnic Emaratis on the FNC.

Gulf Citizen 10 years ago

in reply to Dan's post: The UAE government is not a democracy, therefore the 'say' of the people does not hold a high priority. As non nationals living in the Emirates, i'm sure most have moved here to enjoy the benefits of high salaries and low tax demands...unlike in their home countries. If you want your say, set up societies and associations, the representative of which can communicate to the governing bodies, the concerns that non nationals have. Asking for a seat is pushing your luck.

Hamad Ali 10 years ago

baba, you want to say more domestically go back to your home country. The first and ifnal say will always be to the citizins of UAE, not Indians of UAE. As long as you are not a citizin, zip your mouth please.

John Doe 10 years ago

To Hamad Ali: I am a western expat so not an indian, I had no clue 'Dan' was an Indian name but that's beside the point. Just wanted to clarify this, that's all... Hamad Ali, I came here to make money and I have no problem admitting that. It IS the reason why most of us come here. I also don't want a say in how you run your country, frankly I don't care what you do with it. Just the same as in my home country, I support parties that are against voting rights for foreigners. What I do have a problem with is the fact that more and more Emaratis have the attitude of: 'Go back to your home country!'. I would like to invite you to think about these few points: - I poor a large amount of the money I earn here back in to the economy, money that didn't originate from the UAE. In other words: I make you richer. - I share knowledge with you, please don't forget that 25 years ago you didn't posses a lot of intellectual property. In other words: I make you smarter. - I respect your culture and therefore refrain from certain liberties that are very much part of my culture. For example: you won't hear me swear in public, I will not raise my middle finger, I don't drink and drive, I don't engage in too much public display of affection (I am married so certain things are allowed). In other words: I am a good citizen. I can state more points, but I think you get the idea. Now, I believe I deserve some respect for the above. What if we all left? Hove you thought about that? Who will live in all the houses that have been built? Who will make all your luxury possible? Who will do the things that you don't want to do? For instance, I wash my own BMW and water my own lawn because I don't believe it's beneath me. Think about this please the next time you tell us to go home. Who knows, we just might (lots of us have already in fact). Wouldn't it be nice to treat us with a little more respect? You would get a lot more genuine respect in return. Thanks

Billy 10 years ago

Mr Ali you are very rude. Perhaps you should think what your country would have been like today if all expats had indeed kept their mouths zipped on technological developments, advances in medicine and other western developed benefits. Imagine the UAE today if these advances had been left to you to develop for yourselves. I am sure your own surroundings and comforts of life would be very different to what you undoubtedly have today. So perhaps a note of gratitude to all the expats who made this all possible for you is more appropriate. As an expat myself I do not want a say in how the UAE is governed - it can never be my country so I don't want that right - but I do expect a high level of respect from all the people who have benefitted from the labours of people who will only ever be guests. Unfortunately people like you make it only a dream.

ZeTallGerman 10 years ago

I 100% agree with John Doe's comments... I feel that most Emiratis who want "all expats to leave" only seem to think of Westerners as expatriates to the UAE, am I right? Because if all TRUE EXPATS left, that would mean that every TRUE CITIZENS of the UAE (i.e. all Emiratis) would need to pack their own groceries, wash their own cars, drive taxis, work as receptionists, sales executives, mechanics, dry cleaners, customer service clerks, etc. I don't think most, such as Hamad Ali, have really thought this one through.

Dan 10 years ago

Dear Hamad Ali, For your information I am not an Indian, I am a European, though it should not make a difference. Unless freedom of expression is outalwed here, I will not zip my mouth. Your arrogance is a sign of insecurity. As the artticle states, the resident population of this country is 16.5% Emarati and 83.5% non Emarati, in the next few years it is a fact that over 90% of the population will be non Emarati (the homes for them have already been constructed by the way), do you really think that such a huge majority will be satisfied with the response "zip your mouth" when they wish to address matters that concern them. You can not continue to look upon such a massive majority of the citizens of a country as simply servants, who may be dismissed at your whim. There is nowhere on earth that the majority of a country's population has no forum to discuss and promote their rights, face facts, and lets start to look constructively at a forum for all the residents of the UAE to have a voice.

Prayer 10 years ago

It seems that Mr. Ali like many Emiratis refuse to face the reality. The reality is that this country can never be run by the locals alone. With all the real estate developments and other mega projects around how can anyone even think that they can do without the expats. If the question is about asian expats vs european expats, the future of this country looks even worse as the cost of living will only rise beyond imaginations. Those who understand basics of economics know what I am saying. Mr. Ali we sympathise with you for belonging to the minority in your own country. But I guess its about time that nationals do there contribution to the country and enjoy the maids, villas, tinted cars and the free aminities as long as they last. Last but not least there are many educated Emiratis who know this reality and move with expat with no ill feelings whatsoever.

bewildered of dubai 10 years ago

Fortunately I find the vast majority of Emiratis are far too polite and decent to make comments such as those attributed to Hamad Ali. Not really very constructive were they? Hopefully he will misplace his stick and bottle of venom before attempting further correspondence.

Epo 10 years ago

I wonder whether the ex-pats writing such eloquent responses to Ali's comment here would write equally eloquent and passionate responses to their many countrymen still in their home country asking the many immigrants there to "go back to where they came from". Because "us expats" would never treat immigrants in our home countries the same way a minority of Emirates treat us here in the UAE, would we..?