The UAE has one of the lowest unemployment
levels in the world, standing at only 2.4 per cent
at the end of 2001 as a result of high growth in
the non-oil economy and a government drive to find
jobs for citizens, according to official estimates.
The country's workforce
was estimated at around 2.079 million last year,
of which nearly 2.029 million were employed, the
Ministry of Planning said in its 2002 annual report.
This means around
50,000 people were jobless, accounting for about
2.4 per cent of the total labour force and just
1.4 per cent of the 3.48 million population.
The ministry said
it had revised its figures for the workforce which
it earlier estimated at around 1.85 million at
the end of 2001.
Experts said the
revision was apparently prompted by drastic changes
in the labour market as thousands of expatriates
had to leave because of new labour policies while
a large number of nationals are taking up jobs
after reaching the legal job age.
to other developing or even developed countries,
the UAE's unemployment rate is one of the lowest
in the world," said a UAE banker.
But experts noted
official estimates do not include thousands of
illegal expatriate residents who are not registered
with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Although some of them have part time jobs in violation
of labour laws, many of them are unemployed.
More than 200,000
illegal migrants, mostly Asians, left the UAE
five years ago to benefit from a general amnesty
ordered by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed
bin Sultan Al Nahyan to clean up the country from
immigration violations and restore discipline
in the job market. Another spardon is expected
to be announced in the next few weeks.
unemployment rates might be higher, the UAE does
not have a real joblessness given its strong economy
and a serious government campaign to employ nationals
through the creation of new jobs in the public
and private sectors and replacement of expatriate
they saw no hurdles for such a campaign as the
non-oil economy is growing by at least four per
cent, which is faster than the population growth.
the UAE can cope with the population growth and
at the same time maintain its high per capita
income which has eroded sharply in other countries
in the region," an expert said.
A breakdown by
the Ministry of Planning showed the UAE has never
suffered from a severe unemployment problem, with
the rate standing at only 1.9 per cent in 1975.
It fluctuated in
the following years but remained in the range
of one to three per cent.
The level is expected
to be maintained in the following years as the
government's new labour policies focus on employment
of nationals and deportation of unnecessary and
unqualified foreign workers.
The private sector
will likely play a major role in the employment
of citizens given its massive potential and the
fact that the public sector is saturated and is
not growing enough to accommodate large numbers
of new jobs.