Almost 20 years ago, the GCC approved a resolution that basically gave the citizens of one GCC country working in another the same employment-related rights as the citizens of that country. It was the beginning of a campaign to facilitate the movement of labor at all levels across GCC member borders.
Statistics released Thursday by the Secretariat of the GCC show that the agreements have led to an increase in employment opportunities across national borders.
The number of GCC citizens working outside their own country doubled from about 12,000 in 2002 to some 24,000 in 2011. Kuwait ranked first in attracting citizens of other Gulf countries to work in its government and private sectors. In 2011, Kuwait hosted 19,536 workers from other GCC countries, an increase of 77 percent over 2002.
Assistant Secretary of Human and Environmental Affairs, Abdullah Al-Hashemi, told Al-Hayat newspaper that the number will double again once Gulf citizens begin to undertake technical work.
Saudi Arabia ranked second in attracting other GCC nationals in 2011. The number of GCC workers in the Kingdom reached 1,438, an increase of 102 percent over 2002. Qatar and Oman ranked fifth and sixth respectively as the number of workers reached 596 and 32, respectively.
According to Al-Hashemi, working environments in the Gulf states are similar as are the demands of the industries of each country. Efforts are being made to formulate common employment standards for employing those of specific educational backgrounds.
Statistics also show an increase in the number of GCC nationals working in the public sector of other member states. The number grew from 10,000 in 2000 to 17,000 in 2011, an increase of 70 percent.
Kuwait, again, ranked first in attracting citizens of other member states to work in its government. The UAE ranked second while Qatar ranked third. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman followed.
The number of GCC nationals covered by retirement plans of other countries in 2011 reached 9,140 people. The UAE led the way with 4,012 citizens of GCC countries receiving retirement benefits while Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain Oman and Saudi Arabia followed, in that order.
According to the report, the total number of GCC nationals covered by the social security systems in other member states in 2011 was 6,069 compared to 1,430 in 2004, an increase of about 324 percent.