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Expats remit $40-60bn a year from Qatar: Ansari
2010-06-01
AILYN AGONIA

DOHA THANKS to its booming economy, the huge community of expatriate labour force of Qatar remits a staggering $40-60 billion a year.

Asian countries receive over 40 percent of this huge, precious amount.

Prominent Qatari personality and the Editor-in-Chief of Qatar Tribune, Dr Hassan Mohammed al Ansari, told the 10th Doha Forum on Tuesday that Qatar was only next to the US in terms of remittance flow and the country was playing a major role in the development of Asian countries.

The criticism of the Gulf countries, therefore, for relying on external labour force was not justified, he said.

Dr Ansari, who was speaking on ‘National Identity, Immigration and Faith’ at the Forum, said that the Gulf countries were making efforts to recognise and advance the interests of the foreign workers.

“Gulf countries are calling all stake holders to respect the rights of their labour force,” he said.

Referring to the criticism about exploitation of foreign workers and the violation of their rights, Dr Ansari said that the exploitation was not a one-way street.

Exploitation starts from the countries of origin of the workers and it happens at various levels.

“We need to find solution for protection of workers and their sponsors,” said Dr al Ansari.

He reminded the Forum that the Gulf countries were working to explore how they could cooperate with international organisations, non-government organisations and other governments to find the best solution of the problem.

Media also had a key role to play in raising the awareness about the rights of immigrants, he emphasised.

Among the key factors that led to the boom of expatriates in Qatar include the country’s venture to take up ambitious projects that require huge workforce.

It also included the local women’s reluctance to join the workforce, which, however, has been changing for the better lately.

The tendency of locals to work for the public sector also forced the private sector to depend on expatriates, he said.

The rights of immigrants, fear of losing a nation’s identity due to imbalance of population between locals and immigrants and the integration of immigrants with the culture, tradition and heritage of the host country were discussed during a lively discussion at the Forum.

Richard Bourg, Director of UK’s Wilton Park Center, moderated the discussions.

Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdalla, Political Science Professor at Kuwait University, raised the concerns of local population in the Gulf countries saying they feared ‘losing their national identity’.

“The situation in the Gulf is not only unique but is awkward and unprecedented.

The growing number of foreign workers against the number of locals poses critical and dangerous dimension, especially for small countries.

“After 30 years of development in this region, the citizens have become the minority in their own country.

Locals fear that they will lose the basics of Arab identities, faith, social fabric, nationality, beliefs and future,” he said.

By 2020, locals will only make up 5 percent of the total inhabitants.

This poses a grim scenario and critical challenge to the Gulf nations,” Prof Abdalla said.

He urged the Gulf governments to look into this scenario.

James Moran of USA referred to the growing Arab-Muslim American community and talked about the challenges posed by the problems of immigration.

Former Minister, MP and Member of the French-Qatari Friendship Society-France Eric Raoult and Joseph Maila, Director of Pole Religions, France, spoke about how the French society was trying to cope with the issue of immigrants and immigration.



source :-www.qatar-tribune.com
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