Labour Migration and the Gulf Arab States: Some Observations on the Potential of the GCR

Jinan Bastaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently,therehasbeensomeexplorationoflabourmobilitypolicies inthecontextof refugees as a way of local country integration that can help with refugee self-reliance, withsomeexamplesfromAfricaandLatin America. Buildingonthese examples, this paper explores the opportunities the Global Compact for Refugees presents in the countries making up the Gulf Cooperation Council, specifically the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as related to expanding access to third-country solutions, refugee self-reliance, and responsibility-sharing. Many of the countries making up the Gulf CooperationCouncilrelyinlargepartonexpatriatelabourandareindeedmadeupof majority non-citizens. Many Syrians who have been able to obtain work visas have preferred to go to theUAE rather than seek refuge in other neighbouring countries. Some positive initiatives, such as a 2018 Amnesty Law in the UAE, which created a specific category of residency permits for those from countries suffering war and natural disasters, have ensured that de facto refugees are protected against refoulement in the event that they lose their residency. However, in order for labour migration in this context to work, there need to be better guarantees and minimum protections, such as schooling for children and healthcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2912-2932
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Global Compact for Refugees
  • Gulf Arab states
  • Syrian refugees
  • complementary pathways
  • labour migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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