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Opinion

UAE is with India and Indian expats: analysis

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Of the more than 200 nationalities that make up the diverse and tolerant society that we cherish in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it is difficult to think of a single expat community that has contributed more to building the fabric of our nation than the people of India . UAE and India enjoy a shared history that predates the world’s geopolitical borders as we know them today. Migration, trade and cultural exchange between our peoples go back centuries. Strong relationships between our governments have allowed these ties to prosper.

The entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic of the Indians is known, indeed admired worldwide. In the United Arab Emirates, this business acumen has given the country some of its most recognized brands, including Lulu Hypermarkets, Jumbo Electronics, GEMS Education, and the Landmark Group. Culturally, the UAE is the richest for the tremendous contributions that the people of India have made to our diversity through religion, food, film, art, education and, of course, cricket. Indian expats have been involved in the rapid evolution of the UAE economy. In addition to constituting a large number of white-collar professionals, they also provide the majority of the country’s manual workforce. It is not an exaggeration to say that the UAE would not be the successful and prosperous nation that it is today without its help.

Like all good associations, this is a symbiotic relationship. The UAE has provided fertile ground for a living. You have invested heavily in providing a business-friendly, tolerant, open, welcoming and secure environment.

Last year, AED 169 billion ($ 46 billion) remittances flowed from the United Arab Emirates, more than half to South Asian countries, mainly India. This flow of remittances is the second highest in the world.

In recent months, the coronavirus disease pandemic (Covid-19) has shaken the world’s economies, including ours. Many companies have been forced to temporarily shut down and most air routes have been suspended. In all countries, expatriate workers tend to be the most vulnerable to economic shocks, and the UAE government is aware of its duty to care for its large expatriate workforce.

I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to support workers during this difficult time. Our priority is health and wellness, including providing free Covid-19 testing and free medical treatment for anyone who requires it, regardless of legal status, occupation, or nationality. Those who test positive are transferred to high-quality isolation facilities to continue their treatment without infecting others.

The UAE government has legislated to ensure that the most vulnerable workers continue to receive food and shelter, even if they are temporarily out of work, and has introduced measures to provide financial support to them and their families. A national Ten Million Meal campaign was underway during Ramadan to ensure that no one in the UAE went hungry.

The government has also granted automatic extensions of all visas, including residence and work permits. Those who are currently unable to work in the chosen field can register to participate in an online job market where employees can take temporary job assignments without affecting their rights or employment status.

Some workers will prefer to return to their home countries during these uncertain times. We have been working with many governments to help with this. We have facilitated the return of large numbers of people to their countries of origin. Since the Indian government began its repatriation process on May 7, hundreds of special flights have seen tens of thousands return from the UAE, with more flights added weekly.

I would like to personally thank the Indian government for its cooperation and friendship. However, we hope this is “see you soon,” and not goodbye: an Early Exit Initiative allows workers who want to temporarily return home to take leave or leave without pay while keeping their employment conditions open until their Return. The UAE leadership has provided assurances that our economy is well prepared to recover once the pandemic eases. We are fortunate to have the infrastructure, resources, and determination to make a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, work continues in many sectors. Construction and large-scale infrastructure projects continue. Cargo logistics services are perhaps more important than ever.

And it is not just our society, we are working hard to support. The United Arab Emirates is also making significant humanitarian aid contributions during Covid-19, supplying more than 570 tons of medical equipment and other supplies to more than 50 nations, including those in South Asia. This is a global crisis and we can only recover from it if we work together.

While the current situation may seem bleak, we are optimistic, forward-looking nations that have thrived on challenges greater than Covid-19. I have no doubt that we will emerge more resilient from this crisis, and that the UAE will continue to be a place of opportunity and tolerance for Indian immigrants and, indeed, for all those who wish to build a better life, both for themselves and for the rest. of the world.

Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli is UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emirates

The opinions expressed are personal.

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