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Migration Policy in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States: A Critical Analysis

S. V. Aarthi, Mrutuyanjaya Sahu


International labor migration is the unique reality of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. Despite seemingly open migration policies and reforms, the GCC states recently engaged in international and domestic policies to manage the migrant population better. Considering the dependency of Gulf states on migrant labor and the constant increase in migration to these states, this article aims to understand the policies pertaining to the presence, conditions of residence, integration, and socioeconomic rights of the migrant labor force. After an overview of migration trends and patterns in the GCC states, the article examines the migration policy framework that regulates and governs migration in the GCC. It also highlights the recent reforms and initiatives taken by the GCC states and a few sending countries which have impacted the migration flows, migrant rights, and development benefits of migration. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion on policy challenges and provides recommendations as a way forward.

Keywords: Migration, GCC, Labor Laws, Labor Market, Kafala System, Arabization of Labor Force

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pp. 410–434