Around 250,000 extra foreign workers could arrive in the UAE by 2020 if the country's economic growth pattern continues, Labour minister Saqr Gobash has revealed.
A similar number of UAE nationals are projected to enter the private sector labour market over the next 13 years, he added. "There are no quick or magic solutions to the foreign workforce issue," the minister told a session of the Federal National Council (FNC) to discuss the policy.
And he added that future policies on issuing work permits to foreign workers would be based on requirements of development. "It's the restructuring of the economy rather than labour procedures that will phase out this problem," he said, calling for more concerted efforts between the local and federal governments on this issue.
Speaking about workers rights, the minister said: "The government doesn't seek to strike a balance in this matter because of international pressure but its move on this direction was guided by its legislations.
" FNC members made a series of recommendations which included creating an independent ministry for housing to come up with feasible demographic policies and a strategic plan for increasing Emiratisation.
The recommendations also called for introducing incentive-driven policies to encourage nationals to engage in technical and vocational fields.