Thursday, May 14, 2015

Qatari Men (and workers)

Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world.  The equation is simply this: divide huge wealth from oil and natural gas by a small population.  The result is extremely high income per capita.  

On the other hand, they need a lot of labor to do the construction, serve the food, drive the taxi, clean the house, …   According to the data I read, there are 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates.  Considering the adults only, there are roughly 10 foreigners to each Qatari.  That corresponds well to the impressions I had during my brief stay over there.  

A Filipino driver told me that the wages for foreign workers are in general lower than that in Hong Kong.  This applies also to foreign domestic workers, with whom we are so familiar in Hong Kong.  As far as I can determine, from multiple sources, the wages for blue collar workers are around 1,000 Qatari riyals per month, which is roughly 2,200 Hong Kong dollars.  That is quite a bit below the minimum wage for foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, at HK$ 4,110 per month.  So why is he not working in Hong Kong? For the simple reason that it is easier to get to Qatar.  And no matter how long one works in Qatar, one cannot become a citizen.  

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