Middle East expat job explosion creates calls for employment transparency

by Ray Clancy on August 7, 2014

There could be opportunities for thousands of jobs for expats in the Middle East in the run up to two major global events, it is claimed.

The Gulf State of Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup finals in 2022 and Dubai is home to the Expo 2020 event. According to recruitment experts, foreign expertise and skills will be needed.

Dubai

Experts fear exploitation of unskilled workers ahead of Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

The two massive infrastructure projects require expat skill and executive teams to ensure the success of the two events, both of which are expected to draw millions to the region.

Dubai is also planning to develop as a regional financial hub based on Islamic monetary law, and needs senior executive-level expat talent to get the scheme off the ground.

Both governments are keen to attract the best possible candidates, but expats with local knowledge and some experience of the culture of the region will likely be considered first.

There will also be a demand for workers at other levels, especially with construction skills. Middle Eastern recruitment companies are already gearing up for a recruitment drive.

But some experts are warning that it is also a chance for lesser-skilled foreign workers to be exploited. Qatar is known for its ‘Medieval’ employment laws, although officials are said to be drafting new laws.

Changes would include more transparency in terms of contracts and a more robust checking system to ensure employers are not exploiting more vulnerable workers.

According to James Dorsey, an observer of Middle East soccer politics and senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the while the rulers of Qatar might be open to basic improvements in working conditions, the fundamental shift needs to begin on a cultural level.

But, he believes that change is being accelerated by public pressure as Qatar faces greater worldwide scrutiny. “What the Qataris are realising is that their winning of the right to host the World Cup not only gave them leverage, but gave others leverage, such as human rights groups,” he explained.

 

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