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UAE denies mass exodus of foreign workers

Global Nation
UAE denies mass exodus of foreign workers - Saqr Gobash - foreign workers - UAE - Property - Real Estate

Labor Minister Saqr Gobash on Monday denied that the country is witnessing a mass departure of foreign workers and that the population is falling due to the financial crisis.

Workers are merely being sent home for holidays, Gobash said, rejecting recent bank and consultancy studies predicting the population in glitzy Gulf emirate Dubai will shrink by 17 percent in the coming year.

"Where are the statistics these reports are based upon? I can challenge these estimates, there is no way they are valid," Ghobash told reporters.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on worker's rights in Dubai, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the launch of the International Labour Organisation.

Ghobash said the ministry issued 662,000 work permits in the period between October 2008 and March 2009, while only 405,000 permits have been cancelled.

These figures "show an increase ... not a decrease" in the number of expatriate workers, who come mainly from South and Southeast Asia, and who make up over 85 percent of the total population.

There are 4.1 million workers registered with the labor ministry, according to Ghobash, while another 15 to 20 percent of workers are not registered with the ministry, particularly those employed in government bodies and free zones.


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