For a start, 5 years is pretty impractical. It takes time to pay back the costs of travelling to Oman, and most labourers have a longer term plan of working for 15-20 years. Plus, the description of 'unskilled' is not really accurate. These guys do learn a lot in the first few years and as a result are more productive than someone fresh from the slums of India or Pakistan.
And of course, there are many, many jobs that Omanis simply will not (yet) do - digging holes or lugging bricks in summer, for example. Making them go home after 5 years will just lead to a pointless and expensive churn of labour. And many of the big businesses depend on this foreign labour. I'll be amazed if it passes.
Five-year cap rule for expatriates in the Gulf could be endorsed, says Bahraini official
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Published: December 14, 2008, 13:51
Manama: A proposal by the GCC labour ministers to impose a cap on expatriate workers has a "good chance" of being endorsed at the forthcoming GCC summit, a Bahraini official has said.
"The suggestion to limit the stay of foreigners in a GCC country to five years has a 70 per cent chance of being approved by the GCC states at the Muscat summit this month," Majeed Al Alawi, Bahrain's Labour Minister, told Gulf News. "The chance for the proposal endorsement was only around 40 per cent when it was first made," he said.
The ban will be imposed only on unskilled workers who make up around 85 per cent of the around 13 million foreigners living in the six Gulf states.
Al Alawi has spearheaded the call to introduce the cap on unskilled expatriate labourers to help preserve the cultural, social and political identity of the region.
"With the massive presence of foreigners on their soil, the Arabian Gulf countries have a unique feature in the world. This could lead to a total alienation of the native population and the loss of the local identity," said Al Alawi, a former opposition figure who was given the labour portfolio in 2002.
Millions of foreigners, mainly unskilled workers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, have flocked to the Gulf states since the 1970s, seeking lucrative salaries.