As a country that relies heavily on imported workers, the impact of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) labor policies on demographics cannot be overstated. The number and the types of workers admitted into the UAE every year, and the duration of their stay, directly affect the demographic profile of the nation's population in terms of size, growth, age, gender, race, health, nationality, as well as socioeconomic status like education and income. Policies that continue to encourage the importing of young, uneducated and low-paid workforce from abroad would only exacerbate the existing gender and ethnic imbalance in the population; as such workers tend to be male, single, and coming from a few south Asian countries. By contrast, labor policies that encourage the use of more skilled knowledge workers are more likely to bring in people from more diverse ethnic backgrounds and with more balanced distribution across gender and age. Labor policies also affect demographics through their impact on marital and family relationships, as higher-paid workers are more likely to bring their families to the UAE or start one in the country than low-paid laborers are. The impact of labor policies on demographics of local population is significant too, most likely through their impact on female employment and costs of living, which subsequently affect local people's marriage patterns and fertility rates.

Document Type



Zayed University

Publication Date


Author First name, Last name, Institution

Mouawiya Al Awad
George Naufal
Shaikha al Shamsi