Expats put $128bn in UAE kitty: report

Migrants form 87 per cent of the highly skilled workforce in the UAE. (EB FILE)

Highly skilled immigrants contribute $128 billion (Dh470.14bn) to the UAE's economy every year, a new report has highlighted.

According to 'Stimulating Economies through Fostering Talent Mobility', released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the UAE ranks seventh among 22 select countries rated on migrants' dollar-terms contribution to the country's GDP.

The report points out that the education system in the UAE is among the best in the world when it comes to meeting business needs. The UAE ranks third among 22 countries rated on their education system's ability to meet the needs of a competitive economy.

The education system in the UAE – classified as a "newly industrialised economy" in the report – ranks ahead of some of the other major global economies, including the US, Australia, Germany, France and Japan.

The WEF report demonstrates the magnitude of an impending global labour crisis by analysing talent shortage across the 22 countries and 12 industry sectors. The report argues that talent mobility can stimulate economies in both developed and developing countries.

The report also reckons that 87 per cent of the highly skilled workforce in the UAE comprises migrants, far ahead of any of the other 22 economies studied. Luxembourg, with a 39 per cent share of migrants among the highly skilled workforce, is a distant second, followed by Australia (26 per cent), Canada and New Zealand (22 per cent each) and Switzerland (20 per cent).

Despite current high unemployment rates across the world, the global economy is entering a decade of unparalleled talent scarcity, says the report. If left unaddressed, it warns, this shortage will put a brake on economic growth in both developed and developing countries.

It argues that by 2030, the developed world will need millions of new employees to sustain economic growth. Of this, the US will need 26 million and Western Europe will need 46 million.

Developing countries, though not affected by ageing populations – the workforces of India and Brazil will grow by more than 200 million people over the next two decades – will also face huge skill gaps in some job categories due to low employability, the report says.

However, according to the report, labour supply in the UAE is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.9 per cent between 2008 and 2020, a combined best (along with Egypt) among the 22 economies.

The report notes CAGR in UAE labour supply would then slow down to 1.4 per cent between 2020 and 2030 (second best after Egypt's 1.6 per cent), but would still be much better than the labour force growth in the rest of the economies, of which nine would witness negative CAGR, while the growth rate would be positive but less than one per cent in 10 of the remaining economies.


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