Workforce localization in the GCC countries: Policies, practices, and the labor-exporting countries responses

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    This article analyzes the antecedents and outcomes of the expatriate labor force that comprises about 60% of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) workforce. It shows that the GCC governments' policies have been manipulated to create unsustainable (unskilled) labor-intensive economies marginalizing the citizens. The discussion concludes that the GCC workforce localization programs should aim not for full native employment through complementarity or substitutability of jobs, but rather to correct the unsustainable demographic imbalance, to reclaim the economy, culture, entitlement, tradition, and values through complementary economic programming, and to rationalize the work and regionalize the workforce. The article ends with some strategic actions for the labor-exporting countries in Asia, such as the export of "value-added" human capital instead of raw human resources. These actions are likely to serve the twin purposes of increasing the bargaining power of the labor-exporting countries and protecting the migrant workers rights in order to stabilize the international labor market for both parties. Using a political economy approach, the article uses information and data from the World Bank, other recent studies, direct observation, and discussions in the region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-166
    Number of pages20
    JournalPhilippine Political Science Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015


    • "value-added" human capital
    • GCC
    • comparative advantage
    • expatriate workforce
    • labor-exporting countries
    • localization
    • public policy
    • regionalization
    • rent-seeking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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