Karim Sahibafp/ Stringer/ Getty Images

Los dividendos que brindan los trabajadores extranjeros a los Estados del Golfo

PARÍS – ¿Cómo deberían los formuladores de políticas en los Estados del Golfo del Oriente Medio gestionar las grandes fuerzas de trabajo compuestas por expatriados en sus respectivos países? En Arabia Saudita, los extranjeros representan aproximadamente un tercio de la población. En Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes Unidos, nueve de cada diez residentes es un expatriado. ¿Deberían los gobiernos de estos países continuar realizando grandes inversiones en el desarrollo de fuerzas de trabajo locales con el objetivo de reducir la dependencia de los trabajadores extranjeros?

La extraordinariamente elevada proporción de mano de obra extranjera dentro de los países del Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo (CCG) se considera a menudo problemática, ya que, según la percepción de algunos, amenaza a las culturas locales y a las identidades nacionales, mantiene los salarios en niveles bajos, e impide el desarrollo capacidades y talentos locales. Debido a que la mano de obra relativamente más barata del extranjero es preponderante en una gran cantidad de oficios y profesiones, con frecuencia se deja disponibles  pocos sectores ocupacionales que ofrezcan salarios competitivos a la población local. Estos puestos de trabajo tienden a encontrarse predominantemente en el sector público, sector donde se utilizan los ingresos del petróleo para mantener niveles altos de remuneraciones y condiciones de trabajo atractivas.

Sin embargo, se corre el riesgo de pasar por alto una dimensión importante del debate sobre políticas dentro de la región: las grandes poblaciones de extranjeros en los Estados del Golfo no están conformadas solamente por trabajadores, sino que también por consumidores. Al aumentar la población de los países en los que viven, los trabajadores extranjeros están ayudando a impulsar su crecimiento económico.

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