View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, June 8, 2008

High Costs Driving Expats Away

Many sectors of the work force are starting to feel the pinch. Expatriates are leaving the UAE in great numbers and there are not enough replacements as high costs, high inflation and the weakened dirham are kicking in and salaries are not keeping up sufficiently to make this option viable and attractive.

The most reason sector to suffer is the area of health. Here is the introduction to an article in the
Khaleej Times:

[A] shortage of nurses is beginning to tell on the UAE health sector and government hospitals are pushing for more benefits and for the upgrading of the recruitment system to retain the experienced nursing workforce currently available.

The seriousness of the issue can be gauged from hospital statistics. Internationally, the ratio of nurses to patients is set at 1:5, in general, and one nurse to one or two patients at the most for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of each hospital.

But, this is not the case in the UAE. One hospital in the Al Baraha area of Dubai has a ratio of one nurse to 10 patients, and in the ICU, one nurse to four patients.

The situation has been so for the past few years as more nurses in this region are tempted to proceed to the United States and the European countries reportedly offering family and immigrant visas in lieu of the usual work visas to experienced nurses and their families.

The UAE has been home to nurses from several countries with 40 per cent of them coming from India, followed by Filipinos 30 per cent and the remaining 30 per cent is shared by local nurses and those coming from other Arab countries. Of the 30 per cent, the local nurses comprise mere 4-7 per cent.

Most of them have spent more than three years in the UAE. But, with the current skyrocketing of prices of basic commodities and the spiralling cost of villas and houses, many have opted to leave the UAE and take up jobs in the West.

More detail is available at this link:

‘Shortage of Nurses Hits Health Sector, Khaleej Times, 8 June 2008.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “A shortage of nurses is beginning to tell on the UAE health sector.”