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Proposal: Work force indigenisation in the Gulf Region Essay Example

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Work force indigenisation in the Gulf Region

Aims and cont project

The aim of this study is to show workforce indigenization in the Gulf region and especially in Saudi Arabia. The study discusses what drives the effort to indigenize and the the constraints and countervailing forces. Further, this study will define the law, policy instruments in use and effectiveness. It will also be necessary to review regulatory framework for migrant labour. The global shortage of health care workers has led to the increase in international migration for example from low-income countries to higher income countries. Countries have therefore come to rely on international recruitment in order to staff their burgeoning health care facilities through they are forced to compete with other countries in the global market. Workforce in various Gulf countries such as in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman has had degrees of success in the recruitment of health care workers (Chaudoir, 2005).

This is because historical, social and religious forces are major challenges to women’s participation in the labour market. This therefore impedes local health workforce recruitment. The discovery and exportation of oil in the 20th century brought about changes in the Gulf region and also led to the expansion of health care system. Though GCC countries had had modern health care facilities and medical technologies, technologies, they continued depending on internationally recruited health care workers. The increase in social economic development had also developed changes changing morbidity patterns, increased life expectancy and has improved quality of life (Nassar and Ahmed, 2002).

Academic contribution

The study provides an analysis to the subject of workforce indigenisation in GCC countries and especially in Saudi Arabia. The study shows the problems faced by various governments in the introduction of the policy and the major constraints. This study therefore deals with many issues such as the laws of the policy and the instruments of effectiveness.

Practical contribution

The demand of skilled and unskilled labour increased in 1973 to 1974 as a result of rise in oil prices facilitated by government expenditure and public infrastructure. Since then, Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia have been relying on foreign workers in order to sustain these developments. Chaudoir (2005) describes that migrant workers have therefore been the dominant labour force for instance in 2003, among 60 percent labour force in Saudi Arabia, 8.27 million were foreign workers. Some of the factors that increased the supply of immigrant workers included competitive salaries and high technological facilities.

The US and UK offer good pay and better working conditions and therefore receive more migrant workers and especially females who in Saudi Arabia are subject to restriction and freedom of movement. The increase in the number of health care workers promotes more culturally sensitive care though the number of Arabic speaking staff increases. GCC countries are also keen to reduce the amount of remittance sent home by migrant workers for example in the years 1993 and 2003 about 60 dollars per year which is more than a fifth of Saudi’s annual GNP was sent in form of remittances (Nassar and Ahmed, 2002).

According to Pakkiasamy (2004) to reduce the high rate of unemployment, increase in the number of indigenous people working in health care could help. In Saudi Arabia the rate of unemployment was as high as 28 percent of the male and 32 percent of youths. Arab women rarely participate in the labour force. The interpretation of Islamic teachings has therefore limited gender equality in Saudi Arabia. This is exemplified through social restrictions for example the segregation of men and women. In Saudi Arabia, the number of indigenous women has been reducing from 7 percent in 1991 to 4 percent in 2003. This is as a result of social religious and cultural characteristics.

Literature review

Q1. Define policy problem

GCC has been relying on doctors, nurses and other health professionals for a period of three decades. These professional are from other countries for example from the Philippines, India and other Arab speaking countries such as Egypt and Lebanon. The increasing population and unemployment has made the governments in GCC countries to initiate national programmes for the recruitment of more nationals. Pakkiasamy (2004) shows Saudi Arabia for example aims at reducing one fifth of foreign workers by 2013. This is called the policy of indigenisation which started as early as 1930s but efforts to implement it had no much benefit to the countries. The policy has various problems in GCC countries for example problems in addressing restrictions on the participation of women in the labour force. The other problem is continued dependency on foreign workers and the domination of young indigenous workers.

Q2.What drives the effort to indigenise?

The effort to indigenise has been driven by various factors for example after the global recession coupled with a decrease in oil prices. There was a rise in unemployment which facilitated efforts to indigenise the workforce. Pakkiasamy (2004) explains that the GCC countries have also reserved some professional for nationals only in order to drive indigenisation. Employment quotas for nationals and expatriates have also been introduced in various professionals which are meant to favour the nationals GCC countries have also introduced wage subsidies and retirement plans for nationals for example in the private sector.

On the other hand fees and charges have been introduced on the foreign labour to increase competition and to reduce the number of foreign workers. The government has also been able to reward private companies that that meet quota requirements and this is meant to facilitate more companies to employ the measure in order to reduce the number of foreign workers. Education and training for nationals have also been introduced as this will improve their skills and enable them get employment in both private and public sectors.

Q3.What are the constraints or countervailing forces?

The constrains against this policy are that only the public sector has successfully implemented the measures as localization in the private sector is still low. Looney (2004) shows in Kuwait in 2004 for example among 850,000 workforces the nationals were only 1.8 percent which amount to 16000, while in Qatar, Oman and UAE there were only 10 percent of nationals in the workforce. Looney (2004) describes that Bahrain accounted for 27 percent and about 30 percent in Saudi Arabia. The constraints have also been caused by the fact that unemployment in the private sector in unattractive for nationals.

This is because they get low salaries, long working hours and poor working environment. Private sectors also tend to recognise expatriates therefore creating a competitive working environment in the private sector is therefore seen as debasing the nationals’ nationals’ social status. The other constraint is is that nationals are culturally disinclined in entering low skilled posts in any employment. Other constraints include forceful approach to localisation for example the quota system has had strong opposition from business businessmen who view it as a harmful measure to their potential and that that it adversely affects their productivity and the profitability of their businesses.

Q4. What are the laws; actual policy instruments in use for effectiveness?

Girgis (2002) explains that the laws and actual policy instruments include the use of quotas, reservations of some professionals and charging fees on foreign labour to make it less competitive. The government is using reward systems for private companies that that meet quota requirements and this is meant to facilitate more companies to employ the measure in order to reduce the number of foreign workers. Education and training for nationals have also been introduced as this will improve their skills and enable them get employment in both private and public sectors.

Q5. What are the legal/regulatory frameworks for migrant workers in each country?

A topic that would work in
Work force indigenisation in the Gulf Region - a law and policy analysis of government policies 1991-2011 

End of first Gulf War is your starting point - large scale movements out of the region etc

2011 is your end point

A topic that would work in
Work force indigenisation in the Gulf Region - a law and policy analysis of government policies 1991-2011 

End of first Gulf War is your starting point - large scale movements out of the region etc

2011 is your end point  1

After the Gulf war, the governments concentrated on construction of the society in terms of social link. The war brought about a great impact on migration as about 3 million immigrants were forced to leave their host countries.

Q6. What are the prospects for success on a country by country basis and regionally?

The growth of foreign labour is likely to be slowed down by various reasons for example as a result of the growing number of nationals looking for employment due to demographic factors such as increase in birth rates. Nationals will also become more educated and this will allow them be more competitive in the private sector. Girgis (2002) shows when facing the growth of unemployment in Saudi Arabia, nationals will change their ethic and become willing to accept low prestige jobs which are now held by foreign workers. National women will also increase their presence in workforce especially in Saudi Arabia as nationalisation will be capable of creating more job opportunities for nationals.

Approach and methodology

This study will analyse workforce indigenisation in the Gulf region which is a law and policy analysis of government policies from 1991-2011. It also shows the internal regulations implemented in each country and especially in Saudi Arabia. Views of other scholars and legal jurists and and economists will be examined in order to find through the methodology, methodology, solutions related to the study. Analysis of descriptive methodology will be used to identify relevant issues related to workforce indigenisation in Saudi Arabia.

Conduct of interviews

The research method used in collecting the above data will be the use of literature review of the old and recent studies of books, journals, magazine and newspapers. More information will also be collected from carrying out interviews from interest agencies, agencies, police officers and others officers in Saudi Arabia.

Analysis of data

All the information collected through the stages of the interview will then be analysed in order to evaluate the legal aspects of workforce indigenisation, the policy problems and the constraints affecting the effectiveness of the policy.


Chaudoir, C. (2005). Mapping work in the Gulf: Guest workers in Qatar’s luxury hotels. Foreign labor and its impact in the Gulf Conference, Bellagio, Italy, (20-25).

Girgis, M. (2002). Would nationals and Asians replace Arab workers in the GCC? Paper presented at Fourth Mediterranean Development Forum. Amman, Jordan, (6-9).

Looney, R. (2004). Saudisation and sound economic reforms: are the two compatible? In Strategic Insights (Monterey), 2.

Nassar, H. & Ahmed, G. (2002). Trade and migration. Are they complements or substitutes? A review of four MENA countries. Cairo: Center for Economic and Financial Research and Studies, Cairo University.

Pakkiasamy, D. (2004). Saudi Arabia’s plan for changing its workforce. Migration Policy Institute.