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Demographic Imbalance in the UAE Essay

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That the UAE suffers from an acute demographic imbalance is a foregone conclusion given the self-evident statistics, which unanimously indicates that the locals are by far outnumbered by foreigners. It is estimated that foreigners make up over 90% of the population, a trend projected to keep going up with time. Consequently, this brings out a plethora of questions such as security, culture and identity globalization (Rapoport, 2011). The focus of this paper will be the security implications of having far too many foreigners and other issues that affect the nation.

It is widely acknowledged that the role of foreigners in developing the economy, providing workforce and expertise has been instrumental in facilitating the region’s phenomenal infrastructural growth. Nonetheless, an extreme dependency on foreign labor and migrant workers have resulted into a situation where the local minorities find themselves faced with criminal trends from a foreign lower class (Turnbull & Wass, 2007).

Many of the threats to the country’s security today were nearly non-existent before the UAE become the oil rich nation it is today (Al-Raisi & Al-Khouri, 2008). There are organized crime gangs that perpetuate murders and illegal white and blue-collar deals each year. In addition, the country is slowly becoming a hub for drug smugglers and all sorts of imported criminal activities that jeopardize the nation’s security (Al-Raisi & Al-Khouri, 2008).

In addition, the fact that there is such a big population of foreign workers means that they have considerable power in numbers, and this can easily develop into a security threat (Al-Raisi&Al-Khouri, 2008). For example, in 2006, foreign taxi drivers organized a strike, which turned violent because they did not wish to pay penalties for traffic offenses. Construction workers who are also predominantly foreign sometimes stage demonstrations that are occasionally violent.

Given that they have little loyalty to the host country, they are particularly dangerous. Such actions also have social and economic impactsbecome at occasionally the UAE is forced to conform to the laws and regulations of other countries. For example, some of the immigrant workers forced the UAE government to provide them with conditions like those that they had in their home countries even if the local laws do not recognize them.

Capitulating to the demands of foreign workers has often been the most workable solution for the government since it does not wish to lose its main source of labor (Turnbull & Wass, 2007). However, it has also tried other initiatives such as making laws that allow westerners to exercise their freedoms such as wearing bikinis on public beaches. Although this has been successful in attracting more visitors, it has tended to fuel tension between the locals and “favored” foreigners.

In addition, cultural integration has not come easy since many western and UAE customs do not rhyme. In fact, what is taken for granted in Europe may earn one a prison sentence in the UAE (Rapoport, 2011). For example, foreigners have been frequently arrested for driving while drunk, indecent exposure and public display of affection. The labor impositions above combined with the cultural contradiction potentially create a rivalry or even enmity between the locals and foreigners with the former feeling that their laws and culture are being disrespected (Rapoport, 2011).

In conclusion, there can be no doubt that as long as visitors outnumber the locals, they will feel insecure and threatened. Coupled with incidences of guest related crime, the UAE may slowly be turning into a hotbed of internal and perhaps later external conflict.

Two research questions and methodologies

  • Question 1: What is the correlation of the influx of immigrants and social problems in the UAE?
  • Research methodology: Quantitative approach would be used because it would allow statistical calculations that would be critical in making conclusions.
  • Question 2: What are the main problems that are associated with an increase in foreign labor in the UAE?
  • Research methodology: Quantitative strategy would be utilized because it would help to collect data and analyze them in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the phenomena.

Analyze how domestic characteristics and dynamics of UAE influence the nature and impact of the issue

The small population size of UAE is one of the dominant domestic factor that has influenced the movement of foreign workers into the region. If there were enough laborers among the Emiratis, them the influx of immigrant workers would have been avoided forthwith. It is interesting to mention that most of the foreigners who visit the United Arab Emirates do so with the sole purpose of seeking employment. The latter brings up the issue of a stable economic growth.

It is vital to mention that UAE is rich in oil and other resources. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has also been substantially growing for a long time. As a result, investors find it as a viable investment region. This has necessitated the need to hire more workers in the investment firms (Lori, 2011). For example, construction workers who are both skilled and unskilled are required in large numbers in UAE in order to meet the high demand for labor in the construction industry.

In addition, the hospitality industry has been doing well in the wider United Arab Emirates and as such, the region demands a large pool of workers who can deliver their services (Rapoport, 2011). Moreover, the tourism sector also well developed in the United Arab Emirates. This has led to large influx of seasonal visitors from overseas, some of whom opt to stay even longer as residents. The region is highly dynamic in terms of both cultural and economic growth.

Third, the current challenges being experienced by UAE may have been generated by the low number of indigenous professionals who can take up jobs in the oil and gas sector, hospitality industry and even the construction subsector. Most Emiratis have apparently not been proactive in acquiring requisite knowledge and skills that can be tapped by the labor market. It was not until the turn of the new Millennium when the Emirati authorities began to enforce education laws in order to boost the standards. Since it takes some decades to nurture skills and knowledge with a population, the region still lacks an independent and vibrant workforce other than the foreigners. overdependence on expatriate labor might continue to bite the region for a long time.

Fourth, it is apparent that there is a low birth rate in UAE and that is why the population has remained rather low over the years. Relative to its geographic size, the current population in UAE is far below the expected number. These are some of the dynamics and domestic characteristics that have influenced the nature and impact of the issues at hand.

Identify and assess the resources that UAE has at present to manage the threat

From the outset, acute demographic imbalance is the main threat faced by the wider United Arab Emirates. However, the imbalance itself should not be perceived as the challenge facing the region. Rather, it is necessary to consider the impacts of this demographic balance before the right resources can be put in place.

As already discussed in the above section, security has turned out as the main challenge associated with demographic imbalance in UAE. Therefore, policy guidelines should be set up with a clear focus on matters related to security. Needless to say, authorities in UAE need to invest on security in order to minimize and eventually eliminate crimes brought about by foreigners.

To begin with, the UAE authorities should boost the capacity building and training of its intelligence and other security officers. The region may not continue to rely on the conventional tactics of managing its security apparatus. In any case, the ability of the local security officers may have been surpassed long time ago owing to the surging number of foreigners. Capacity building for security officers should go hand in hand with hiring of new staff in order to lower the police-civilian ratio. Hence, training is a key resource at this point in time (Lori, 2011).

Second, community policing is also a viable option and resourceful means of curbing the rising rate of insecurity in the United Arab Emirates. Emiratis are a major security resource since they can relay vital intelligence information to security men and women. Moreover, additional security monitoring centers should be set up in strategic locations for the sake of monitoring security matters.

Third, technology cannot be left behind or ignored by the UAE authorities if there is need to fight crime-related cases that are brought about by the influx of foreigners into the region. For example, border points should be keenly monitored to dispel any rogue elements from finding their way into UAE. The threats of modern terrorism indeed demand the authorities to embrace and adopt state-of-the-art technologies. Issues related to the inflow of hard drugs and weapons can be dealt with precisely at border points only if the right technological platforms are put in place (Lori, 2011).

Apart from security issues, erosion of indigenous culture is also a major concern. Since it may not be possible to restrict foreigners from practicing their cultures, it is upon the authorities of UAE to invest heavily in the cultural heritage of its people (Turnbull & Wass, 2007). In this case, cultural heritage centers can be set up to embrace local values. The latter may be made more relevant as tourist attraction centers.

Identify resources that UAE should develop in the next five years to improve the management of this threat and justify their importance

In the next five years, the threats posed by immigrant workers and other foreigners will have escalated by a big margin. The criminal investigation division should put in place specialized task forces. This will be able to handle the growing challenges posed by the large inflow of workers from other geographical regions. We expect a rapid growth in the construction sector in years to come. In addition, United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai will continue to grow and expand as a major tourist destination across the globe. Hence, the current number of task forces that deal with security matters will be overstretched in terms of responsibilities (Rapoport, 2011).

Drug trafficking into the region is as a consequence of porous borders. This implies that additional personnel will have to be hired and trained to tackle border issues in regards to the proliferation of weapons and hard drugs (Rapoport, 2011). In fact, forensic laboratories will come in handy in the management of internal security matters (Turnbull &Wass, 2007).

Finally, family social security for the Emiratis will also be another vital area to be addressed within the next five years (Lori, 2011). Demographic imbalance has brought about gross erosion of cultural integrity of the Emirati people. The current spate of threat to UAE culture requires a w ell planned institutionalization of the indigenous family social security. Enactment of relevant pieces of legislations to protect the local citizenry culture will be a major resource to bear in mind.

References

Al-Raisi, A. N., & Al-Khouri, A. M. (2008). Iris recognition and the challenge of homeland and border control security in UAE. Telematics and Informatics, 25(2), 117-132.

Lori, N. (2011). National Security and the Management of Migrant Labor: A case study of the United Arab Emirates. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 20(3-4), 315- 337.

Rapoport, A. (2011). Nation-building, identity and citizenship education: cross cultural perspectives. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(2), 225-227.

Turnbull, P. J., &Wass, V. J. (2007). Defending dock Workers—Globalization and labor relations in the world’s ports. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 46(3), 582-612.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Demographic Imbalance in the UAE." March 27, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/demographic-imbalance-in-the-uae/.

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