In a recent research study undertaken by a research team, and published in the magazine 'Science', approximately 232 million people reside and live outside of their country of birth. The research team says international migration is both big in scope and complex in nature. They also state that it is significant for development and an issue of high importance for both sets of the nations – those who send migrants and those who receive them.
According to the study, West Asia was the world’s third largest receiver of migrants during 2005-10, and the Gulf Cooperation Countries received the maximum number of them. In particular, Qatar and UAE received the maximum number of migrants. The study reveals that the GCC block has been among the largest net receiver of immigrants and within the block, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait were the leading countries accounting for net immigration. The reasons for the migration to the GCC countries are their low populations, inadequate to absent skills, etc. The largest annual growth rate was during 1975-85.
Because of their booming economies due mostly to their oil industry, migration to these countries also grew between the years 2000-2012 and this phenomenon is likely to go on for a few more years. In Qatar and UAE, the construction industry attracted and absorbed the largest work force. Expats comprise more than 95% of the work force in these two countries. Also, another interesting (but widely known and acknowledged) phenomenon is that the highest number of migrants to the GCC region arrived from the South East Asia region (comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Migration also occurred from countries such as Philippines, Indonesia and also Egypt.
All through the 1990s’, the number of alien workers increased in most of the GCC countries, except in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (because of the Kuwait invasion). In the 2000s’ particularly, there was an influx of and exodus of foreign workers into almost all of the GCC countries, with the highest recipient countries being Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Oman.
It took almost two years of research study for the research team led by Dr. Nikola Sander to come up with these research/study results.