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Posted On: 14 June 2008 03:40 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

xpats’ influx prompts calls to limit hiring

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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As usual I want to highlight some points with these damn 'prominent Qataris'. They DO NOT represent everyone. Just because THEY want something a certain way, it's not their right to enforce it on everyone! WITH Qatar’s population jumping to 1.5mn mainly because of the unprecedented expatriate influx, several prominent Qataris have called for limiting the recruitment of foreign workers. Speaking to Gulf Times, some expressed concern over what they saw as a threat to Qatari identity while others cited the impact on public services. Mariam al-Saad, a columnist, said the rise in numbers had strained public services almost to the point of collapse. “All residents, nationals as well as expatriates, are suffering from the daily traffic jams. The whole health care system works under pressure because of the influx,” al-Saad said. However, she dismissed fears of a cultural invasion as “exaggerated”. “Citizens and expatriates in Qatar have their separate realms. With the exception of the domestic helpers, one can hardly find mixing between the two.” So is that good? :S We need more integration! “The real threat is the unprecedented pressure on amenities, hospitals, schools, roads and even public gardens,” she said. She said there should be a limit on the number of foreign workers recruited every year. A columnist of Arrayah Arabic daily, Sahla al-Saad, echoed her call. “A short visit to any public garden on Fridays or to any shopping centre will leave one feeling there is some sort of occupation going on,” she said. “I usually find it difficult to find certain goods in malls because of such pressure. Because of this influx, we have a shortage of food and jobs.” Good point. How about we introduce more shops and malls and the government promotes more competition to bring in more goods? Abdullah Hajji al-Silaiti, a playwright and columnist, said there is a fall in the ratio of citizens to expatriates. “There should be restrictions over the number of foreign workers recruited by firms and meanwhile the government should build more hospitals and schools to address the pressure on health and education,” al-Silaiti said. He also expressed concern over the miserable conditions and low salaries of most foreign labourers. “The current situation will create many social problems,” he said, adding that the presence of large numbers of single men would mean an increase in prostitution and other crimes. How about you balance out the ratio of men to women, and allow men to have girlfriends? Sheikh Mohamed Abu al-Ainain, a Muslim scholar, warned against a cultural invasion, saying young Qataris were starting to imitate Western styles in clothing. “Even the abaya, which some Qatari women have started to ignore, has become skin-tight. When I visit any shopping centre, I am shocked to see young Qatari men wearing Western clothes like T-shirts and trousers,” he said. Wait what? Now it's the country's decision to try and tell us what to wear? So what if they wear a T-Shirt and Trousers? A Thobe is OPTIONAL! WTF are these people on about. I'm glad they don't represent us Qataris “We have also started to see crosses either worn by expatriates or hanging in cars. This may have a bad impact on our children,” he warned. How about you teach your children to be better caring muslims rather than worrying that they'll leave Islam? However, social activist Hassan al-Jifairi saw no threat to Qatari society, which he said is “closed and conservative by nature”. “We do not mingle with other communities. Our customs are deeply rooted and it is difficult for any invading culture to have an impact on us,” he said. Al-Jifairi said he was more concerned about the impact on infrastructure and services. “We have a serious problem with all the service sectors. I know friends who enrolled their sons in schools located in remote areas because of the pressure on the schools. If you fall sick now, you can hardly find an empty bed in any hospital. Even in the post offices, it is difficult to find a free post box,” he said. “The only solution is to suspend the projects which are not essential to the development process and need large numbers of workers,” he added. Yes let's stop development instead of restructuring essential needs. *sighs* Dr Moza al-Malki, a teacher of psychology at Qatar University, called for striking a balance between the requirements of development and its social impact. “The problem lies in the fact that progress and cultural invasion come as a package. You cannot make the required progress without being affected by its social consequences,” al-Malki said. She felt the main threat to Qatari identity comes from housemaids. “The housemaids spend the whole day with our children. They can cause harm to our children’s values,” she said. Then maybe the mothers should also be sitting with the kids rather than leaving the housemaids to raise the kids. The harm is with ignorant people NOT with expats.