GCC to unify pay for citizens working in member countries

Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), attends the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the GCC prior the start of the summit in Doha on Dec. 9, 2015. GCC member states are planning to unify salary structures for jobs occupied by their nationals currently based in non-native member states.

Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), attends the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the GCC prior the start of the summit in Doha on Dec. 9, 2015. GCC member states are planning to unify salary structures for jobs occupied by their nationals currently based in non-native member states.

GCC member states are planning to unify salary structures for jobs occupied by their nationals currently based in non-native member states. It was not immediately clear whether the plan to unify the salary slabs of the GCC citizens were discussed at the GCC summit in Doha.

“But, this proposal has already been discussed by the GCC finance ministers,” said a GCC statement, here Thursday. This proposal is significant keeping in view of the fact that most GCC citizens are employed in public-sector jobs, while most expatriates are employed in private sector jobs. The trend in the GCC is still to go for public sector jobs including the government agencies.

The jobs in government agencies attract a large number of citizens because these jobs often allow retirement with almost full pension rights after 20 years of service. On the top of it, most public-sector workers in the Gulf contribute less than five percent of their earnings for retirement benefits.

A detailed report about the plan will be discussed soon, the statement said. There has been substantial gaps in the salaries of the GCC nationals. So, the decision is expected to be taken regarding unifying salaries and perks of the GCC citizens in jobs in different member states in 2014.

“This will give more options for the GCC citizens in terms of employment by moving from one country to another in the bloc,” said Saleem Abbasi, a recruitment expert. “A Saudi working in the UAE may get more salary than he or she may receive in Saudi Arabia or for that matter any other GCC country,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and Oman have been on the top in terms of giving employment to the GCC citizens. In Kuwait, Qatar and UAE, a large number of private-sector workers are migrants. It is interesting to note that unemployment is rare among foreign workers, since losing one’s job normally means losing the right to remain legally in the country.

But, unemployment is more among the GCC nationals. Saudi Arabia alone is home for about nine million foreign workers, who have been sending billions of dollars in remittances to their native countries. Indians represent the largest foreign community in the Kingdom followed by Egyptians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Africans.


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