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Influx of expats boosts UAE population--report

First Posted 21:09:00 02/24/2008

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DUBAI--An influx of foreigners has bolstered the population of the United Arab Emirates to 5.6 million by the end of 2006, while the number of nationals fell to 15.4 percent, an unofficial study said Sunday.

The study, by a federal body which advises the government, showed there were only 866,779 Emirati citizens among the population of over 5.6 million at the end of 2006, the daily Al-Bayan said.

Foreigners numbered 4.764,356, or 84.6 percent of the total population, said the study compiled by the deputy speaker of the advisory Federal National Council (FNC), Ahmad bin Shbib al-Dhaheri on the basis of government figures.

According to the last official figures, the UAE's population stood at 4.1 million at the end of 2005, of whom 825,000, or just 21.9 percent, were Emiratis.

But the latest study indicated that the native population of the oil-rich Gulf Arab country is steadily dwindling as more foreigners flock to the UAE, amid a spectacular economic boom and what is euphemistically knows as the "demographic imbalance."

Expatriates from the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia make up around 75 percent of the workforce, with Indian citizens counting for 42.5 percent of all expats, the study said.

The Indian community in the UAE numbers about 1.4 million, according to the Indian embassy.

In fast-developing UAE, the foreign influx ranges from poorly-paid construction workers to hard-partying professionals.


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