Dubai's Migrant Construction Workers Bear Brunt of Downturn

The economic downturn is hurting Dubai, as glitzy skyscraper projects come to a halt. But the biggest pain is being felt among the hundreds of thousands of migrant construction workers who came to the city seeking their fortunes.
May 7, 2009, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"The global economic recession and the construction slowdown have hit hard in the Middle East's most lavish metropolis. The massive construction boom of the last six years, which lured hundreds of thousands of expatriates, has come to a screeching halt."

"Everyone from architects to marketing agents is losing jobs. But arguably, those suffering most are the migrant laborers who sold everything back home in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or elsewhere to come make money stacking bricks, watering lawns, and cleaning floors."

"...The government does little to remedy the problem, charges Nicholas McGeehan, who as a former oil company contractor in the Emirates from 2002-06 got insight on the issue from within the system."

"'The government knows exactly what is going on, because the same guys who run the government own the construction companies and the developers,' writes Mr. McGeehan by e-mail from Italy, where he runs an organization called Mafiwasta, which addresses migrant labor issues in the Gulf. He describes the government's treatment of migrants as 'ruthless, arrogant, racist, and greedy.'"

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, May 3, 2009 in The Christian Science Monitor
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email