Migration big ‘challenge’ for Gulf states


Pelletier, who is Population Affairs Officer at the UN body is in Doha attending a workshop on "demographic projections" being held at the Millennium Hotel here. The five-day workshop is being organised by Qatar’s Planning Council, in partnership with the GCC Secretariat General and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), functioning under the UN.



Talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the workshop yesterday, Pelletier said, the basic purpose of the workshop was to train the participants – experts and statisticians from the region – on using the tools in making demographic projections. The workshop is also discussing the common problems and challenges being faced in making the projections.



Mortality, fertility and migration are the three major components of the population projections, he added.



Compared to the first two components, the third one – migration – is the most difficult to tackle, especially for the Gulf countries, where there is a high concentration of the migrant work force, noted Pelletier.



"It is a major challenge to make long-term projections with the presence of large expatriate communities, who have the habit of moving from one country to another," he said.



The challenge is bigger for those countries, where the native population is smaller compared to the migrant population.



The expatriate communities in the Gulf countries are dominated by males, posing yet another challenge in preparing the population projections for the male and female categories.



Pelletier said, it is comparatively easy to make projections on the mortality and fertility rates, since they have been declining all over the world. However, the high prevalence of HIV/Aids has led to a rise in mortality in the African countries, especially in the Southern and Eastern parts of the continent. The fertility rate is also relatively high in this region.



Fertility rates have been declining in the Gulf region as well, especially due to the presence of the large migrant population. Fertility among the expatriates is lower compared to the nationals in most of these countries.



“Each country has to put its own strategy regarding fertility depending on their social, cultural and economic situations," he said



He noted that some advanced countries are facing a shortage of young hands due to lower fertility, but this has been compensated by the immigrant workforce. The problem exists in countries like China because of its extreme one-child policy, he added.


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