12 March, 2009

The Pearl Needs Some Help

Hi UAE bloggers...it has been a while that I have been away from Dubai but I love keeping up with things through the Community Blog. I find myself now preparing a presentation for my graduate work related to the interaction of government and economic development in the UAE. Specifically, I am really interested about how power has migrated or shifted between Dubai and Abu Dhabi throughout this financial crisis? What has been the impact on expat communities in terms of their benefits from government, incentives to stay or go etc? What about laborers? How are Emiratis reacting to the crisis and how are the affected? In short, I am really in need of some local input on these questions as being in the USA and having only the media to rely upon doesn't always produce the most forthright and probing insights. So, I would love to hear from anyone that has the time to share the perspective on these questions. This US graduate student would be most appreciative. Thank you!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been out of Dubai myself for a while now, so am not in a position to give detailed analysis. One thing that I know for a fact is that a longstanding immigration law has been ammended in the face of current economic scenario. The resident visa of expatriates was deemed null and void if the passenger stayed out of country for more than six months. This duration has now been increased to three years. Which means that the resident visa would stay be valid if the passenger returns within three years (instead of the previous six months).
This is obviously an attempt to retain the expat interest in UAE.

Hope this helps

Dave said...

Anon, are you sure? Reference?

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

how power has migrated or shifted between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Thats funny. The "power" has always been in Abu Dhabi's hands. None of the other 6 emirates dare forget that.

I think Dubai has "realized" this more now.

Anonymous said...

The resident visa of expatriates was deemed null and void if the passenger stayed out of country for more than six months. This duration has now been increased to three years.

Really? any source on that, would be interested to read about that!

Anonymous said...

I think that anon at 03.20 is not correct. Do not listen to him.....

Anonymous said...

Pearl I am not sure how power has shifted. Abu Dhabi has always been the dominant partner, even more so in this climate. Expats should leave before sharia law catches up with them and imprisons them for their debts. There are many cars abandoned in airports with credit cards that are maxed out in the glove compartments. But it is illegal to criticise Dubai, which is why I have to be anonymous. Anyone caught publicly criticising Dubai is considered a "persona non grata" and so is held responsible for "failing to keep the dream alive". A dream it was and to many still clinging to its illusion it still is. Can you imagine Vegas without the women, booze, general debauchery and gambling? No. That is what Dubai is. Dubai takes or has taken the worst from the East and from the West in a city that attracts the most petty and materialistic types or people, Arabs and expats. I hate the expats here but I hate the stupid Arabs who allowed this abberation in the first place.
Put it this way: Dubai and that whole region does not have anything, even oil. When the hype or bubble whatever goes, everything goes. That is why everyone is leaving. Even Arabs. I am ashamed as an Arab at how we have treated Indians , Somalis and Third World people who build our pointless totems to consumption in the fifty degree heat for 250 dollars a month while the British expat enjoys eveery luxury. But like I said it is not the British expat's fault. It is the silly ignorant petty and materialistic Arab that made this happen.
You come to Dubai at a good time Pearl. You will see the Arab elites living in denial at teh fact that half the world's cranes are in Dubai and that construction has halted. You will see Westerners wondering what to do with their investment of a villa or apartment, whether they should stay or flee. And you might see the Arabs like me, secretly joyous in their hearts at the predictable failure of the most ridiculous exercise in modernity. In the end Dubai will be a unique monster. Unrecognisable to both east and west alike.
But you, as a graduate student like I once was many moons ago, I should not come across as part of the anti globalisation and anti development crowd. I am not anti globalisation. I just want a different kind of globalisation. But I am happy that is the end of Dubai as we know it. It was a useless place anyway, producing the worst types of people. What do you expect from people who are ignorant of everything, especially their own history.

Anonymous said...

Hi babe.
First and foremost, good luck on your exams.
There was never any doubt that power was always in the hands of Abu Dhabi. Don’t ever forget that this country is a federation and Dubai is never alone. All the emirates are under one umbrella. Dubai has been a study in capitalism and just like the US it is weathering the storm. Dubai marketed itself as a sole proprietorship but it was always a partnership. That is how smart they’ve been.
One example is the federal decree of issuing residency visa to home owners that will be implemented soon. That is a major move that shows how united they are.
One nation, one law.
Schadenfreude is apparent in the expat community. Lots of haters that did not have a piece of the pie. So naturally they love to see the fall of Dubai but what they don’t understand is that the rest of the world has fallen too.
There are still people moving to Dubai but not in hordes as before. Believe me I am in the business and know the facts. Expats are hired and moving here from abroad, believe it or not more in government institutions than private.
The government never offered incentives even in the good days. The mentality still upholds. Come, make money, make more money for us and leave. Labourers have decreased as there is less work in the construction industry. Companies have made redundancies just like the rest of the world.
Regarding locals, there has always been mixed feelings. The ones that have always had money love to see it going back to the old days but the nouveau riche loved it when they made loads of money but hated the expat community along with it. There will never be a balance as most Arabs are generally hypocrites. That is another subject all by itself. Too long to elaborate.
In general everyone is reacting to the crisis the same way and that is fear. But I hear there is more of that in the states than here.
But all else business as usual.
miss you.

i*maginate said...

"while the British expat enjoys eveery luxury. But like I said it is not the British expat's fault"

Wow...! Can I say 'moron'?

ABIT: why the hell is it that ur 2nd para is never said face-2-face and it's just online/between the ADians when it's a...let's say...financial fact

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

i*maginate said...

ABIT: why the hell is it that ur 2nd para is never said face-2-face and it's just online/between the ADians when it's a...let's say...financial fact

Forgive me, I didnt understand that at all.

What part? face to face with who? and what financial fact?

And Dubai (and the other emirates) are less partners and more subsidiaries of Abu Dhabi. If you want to be a bit technical and mean. It is Abu Dhabi that foots the bills for the other emirates. Especially north of Sharjah.

The truth is diversification, speculation, pixie dust, and happy thoughts will get you far, but at some point it needs to be grounded, based on something.

Abu Dhabi has that something. Dubai, not so much.

I'm not saying Abu Dhabi should let Dubai (or any other emirate) collapse. God forbid. BUt I also think that "rescues" are bad. If I were in charge of rescuing other emirates, I'd do so... For land! Not for part ownership in failing companies. Though that isnt bad either.

But Abu Dhabi should really start to be like "Ok, we have the fed budgets, and if you need more help, start giving us land..."

Jumairah and such would be a good start.

BTW, Im also this mean when it comes to places outside of the UAE. I have said a few times that when the UAE "gives" money to say, Gaza, it should demand land in return... and then sell it to Israel. lol.

Free lunches cant be tolerated, Not in the situation the world is in now. even if it is your next door neighbor.

Anonymous said...

What three years!!!!!! It is still six month, if ur out of the country more than six month, ur visa will be cancelled.

Seabee said...

Sorry to come in a bit late, I've been on holiday.

AD always was the dominant partner - as the biggest and richest it was made the federal capital as part of the federation agreement, with the Ruler of AD as UAE President. Dubai as second biggest/richest got the VP and Prime Minister roles and so on down the heirarchy. Dubai was always the commercial centre (think the US with DC - New York, Australia with Canberra - Sydney).

Remember that the ruling families are related (founding father Sh. Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, President and Ruler of AD, was Sh. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's uncle). AD will support the other emirates as necessary as part of the federation and for face-saving considerations.

Today the President Sh. Khalifa has insisted that AD has no intention of taking over Dubai assets. All the papers have the story, there's an example here.
My reading of that is that it's a tacit confirmation that AD has given some financial aid to Dubai.

Impact on expats - there never were any benefits from government. The two incentives to come/stay were a) good money, b) lifestyle better than 'back home'. Both are now being questioned because inflation, especially the horrendous cost of accommodation, is eating up salaries making saving difficult. The endless construction and traffic problems mean that lifestyle is not as good as it was. The slowdown is already helping to correct both these problems.

Job losses are happening as they are everywhere. The government is looking into changing the rules so that people can stay for three months after cancellation so that they can continue to look for work here. Many employers are already allowing fired employees to stay on their visa for a period - three months for example - before cancelling it.

Labourers - like many other job categories a percentage of them have lost their jobs. About half the construction projects are on hold, although over US$500 billion of projects are still going ahead.

Emiratis are affected much the same as everybody else, although government isn't shedding jobs and a high percentage of Emiratis work for government.

(I've posted a short piece on the economy and international media reports on my blog this morning.)

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