Global Migration of Manpower
|Foreign Workers in Dubai|
The United Arab Emirates, a country with expatriates constituting 91% of their population, with Indians and Pakistanis topping the ranks, Hindi language rubs off well on a number of Emiratis.
With a staff force of about 300, the CEO of Seven Seas, Mr. Nayagam Pillai, an Indian national, is accompanied with employees consisting of quite a number of fellow Indian nationals as well.
This time around, before I joined the team in the Intersec, I took a detour to visit our distributor, Expert Software in Oman. I observed the same expatriate culture here. Apart from the three Omani bosses, the rest of their staff also consists of expats from other countries.
In November 2011, when I was attending the IFSEC show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I met up with some FingerTec resellers, and found that Egyptians made up our resellers’ staff force. This Islamic country is home to 8 millions foreign workers, representing a third of the population, and has a preference for Muslim foreign workers.
In the USA, especially in the southern region, Spanish is largely conversed everywhere. In Singapore and Malaysia too, encounters with foreign workers is not something foreign at all.
In any two neighboring countries with an economic inequality or imbalance of human resources, you’ll find that if the wealthier country with higher demands for human resources has friendly policies, it would definitely attract the people from poorer countries to flow in and fill up the vacancies in the job market.
If the wage is higher and policy is friendlier, it would probably draw more jobseekers from other regions too. Better and cheaper transportation nowadays also contribute to the common diaspora of global migration of manpower.
When the Arab Spring sparked the social unrest in the Middle East in early 2011, some countries like Saudi Arabia upped its social spending to pre-empt protests, and Oman raised its minimum wage from USD364 to USD 520. The UAE, as a regional safe haven, benefitted economically. It was observed by the retail industry that bounced back exponentially since the economic crisis in 2009, including our business growth and other businesses boomed in various industries.
|Foreign Workers in Malaysia|
Malaysia started to implement minimum wage this year even though it received strong objections from some employers especially those who are heavily depending on foreign labors. They argued that it would jeopardize their competitiveness, and called for the exclusion to be applied on expatriates.
In fact, I strongly support the move to realize the minimum wage policy to protect the employee’s rights; even if the workforce comes from foreign countries. In today’s competitive world, any country and company should maintain their global competency by congregating more talents, from different countries and different culture, not by exploiting the workers through cheap labors.
Happy workers increase productivity, and we at FingerTec strongly believe in this.
By Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ