Labour Migration in the Gulf Cooperation Council: Past, Present and Future

  • George Naufal
  • Ismail Genc


In a relatively short period of time, the Gulf region has positioned itself as the third most important labour-importing region in the world. Embarking on ambitious development projects and taking advantage of regional factors, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were able to provide a safe haven for millions of workers over the last four decades. The movement of workers to the region was so large that it altered the demographic structure of the GCC countries. Foreigners constitute on average more than half of the population in the region and in some countries, they are more than 80%. This chapter examines three periods of this migration phenomenon. First, we briefly summarize the history of labour migration to the region focusing on what made the Gulf a lucrative destination for many. Second, we provide an update on the current situation of the labour force in the region. Finally, in the third part, special attention is given to future opportunities and challenges that labour markets in the Gulf region are most likely to face.


Migration remittances inflation MENA GCC JEL Classifications C23 E61 F24 N15 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Naufal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ismail Genc
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI)Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.IZA Institute of Labor EconomicsBonnGermany
  3. 3.The American University of SharjahSharjahUnited Arab Emirates

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