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The expatriate workforce in the countries making up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) needs to be restructured, the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani is reported to have said.
At a Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce event, the Emir said the composition of the foreign workforce needed to be looked at, the Gulf Times reported.
"The course of building a knowledge-based economy did not achieve full progress, and expatriate workers still constitute a high percentage of the total workforce in our countries and its structure is not at the required level," the Emir said.
This was understandable due to the investment boom of the 1980s and ’90s, when foreign companies helped fund a modern infrastructure through the oil and gas sectors in the region, he added.
"We look forward to a greater role for private sector to achieve sustainable development. Gulf economies are still strongly influenced by external changes, particularly the volatility of oil and gas prices," he said at the event.
Expatriates in Saudi Arabia made up 50.6 per cent of the workforce in 2008, a report by Euromonitor International recently revealed.
Some Gulf states, including the UAE, have been making education and training a priority for citizens to combat the relatively high unemployment rates of nationals.
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