The workforce of the Gulf Cooperation Council has been shaped by the increased economic prosperity deriving from crude oil and other hydrocarbon products since the early 1960s, as well as the Gulf countries final independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. In order to utilize the revenue from oil to establish and modernize those new states, a workforce from abroad was needed to tackle those tasks.
Labor market structure
Although all six Gulf Cooperation Council states have implemented in their ruling bodies some forms of democratic procedures, all of those governments are, however, led by monarchs (in the form of kingdoms in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, a sultanate in Oman, and emirates in the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait). This is also why those states adopted a national income stream of a rentier state rather than sourcing state income through taxation from citizens.
Most migrant workers and expatriates enter the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with work-sponsored visas. For example, most work-sponsored visas in Saudi Arabia were issued for workers in the private sector. The majority of work visas issued in Saudi Arabia were for men.
In general, citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are employed in the public sector. Furthermore, the female labor participation rate of nationals is among the lowest worldwide.
As oil revenues dwindle, the GCC states are looking into diversifying their economies with additional revenue streams, including tax. They are all implementing reform policies to increase the employment rate of their citizens, especially in the private and service sectors. Those policies are known as Saudization in Saudi Arabia and Emiratization in the United Arab Emirates.
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