All the countries of the GCC have over the years employed expatriate manpower of mainly Asian origin. This working population was needed by the booming economies that have benefitted from a decades long surge and high levels of oil prices related revenues. Relatively good living standards and total absence of income tax followed on and were appreciated by all expats. Amongst these, some sort of a social decantation process took place and a number of leaders came into the light of day. A great number of successful Expatriate Businesses started up across the GCC and expanded across its member countries. Some of these are now claiming their share in the prosperity they helped engender if only for posterity’s sake.
It all started when oil prices having tumbled and lately been volatilising upward more than down for reasons outside their control, made the GCC respective authorities introduce various regulation items such as those applicable to all foreigners applying to work in the UAE. These come at a time when, according to many experts, salaries in the UAE are not expected in 2018 to keep up with inflation after the introduction of a 5% value added tax rate. They all nevertheless agree that wages across the Middle East would increase if at all but at a rate that is certainly lower than that of last year’s. Apart from that, any foreign worker will as of now be required to obtain a good conduct and behaviour certificate in order to be granted a work visa, state news agency WAM confirmed last Monday. This certificate must be issued from the applicant’s home country and certified by the UAE mission in that country.
The UAE looking at attracting and retaining the best talent from around the world has engaged into a program of reshaping the country’s economy through notably its diversification.
The reality on the ground is that whether from the huge numbers or origins of the diverse communities of the expatriate workers, the countries of the GCC will definitely be impacted by their passage as reported in this article of The National of January 9, 2018. We must say that in this article, it is question of people originating from a south west country of India, namely Kerala from which a great number of “NRIs” as these are best known as Non-Resident-Indians in every country of the GCC.
Some of the UAE’s biggest names in business come from India’s Kerala state.
From supermarket magnates to industrialists who have built education conglomerates or established hospitals, some of the UAE’s biggest business names come from India’s Kerala state.
A large portion of the one million people from Kerala who work in the UAE are employed as nurses, drivers, technicians, electricians and accountants.
But there are also those who can be found in the self-made billionaires list and philanthropists who give back to the community by building local schools and clinics.
Yusuff Ali, managing director of the UAE-based Lulu Group left a village in Kerala for a job in his uncle’s distribution business in the 1970s. Described by Forbes as the Middle East’s retail king, his group owns close to 140 hypermarkets and supermarkets across the Middle East, Africa, India and the far East.
Handed the Queen’s Award last year for his contribution to international trade and employment generation in the UK, Mr Ali has diversified into hotel development and food processing.
Dr Azad Moopen, chairman of the DM Healthcare group, spearheads a healthcare chain that operates 18 hospitals, close to 100 clinics and more than 200 pharmacies in the Middle East and India.
A general physician who taught at a government medical college in Kerala, he moved to Dubai in 1987 to help an Indian doctor in an Ajman clinic.
Mr Moopen runs a foundation to help women and the elderly.
One of the most successful education entrepreneurs, Sunny Varkey, is the son of teachers who migrated to Dubai in 1959. Gems Education, of which Mr Varkey is founder, now runs more than 70 schools in 14 countries.
Mr Varkey’s group funds the training of thousands of teachers in programmes in Africa.