On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 his Excellency Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labor, held a meeting with a number of academics from local and international research and educational institutes as well as members of his Ministry where he challenged the academics to become involved in policy research related to the UAE and the Gulf on issues around labor and migration. In response to that challenge, a meeting was held on October 9, 2013 with a small group of academics.

The goals of the meeting were to achieve:

  1. Develop a research agenda that would be of interest to both the researchers and the UAE Ministry of Labor
  2. Identify data requirements for such research agenda
  3. Discuss potential collaboration between the researchers themselves


The conclusions from that meeting were:

  1. There is interest among the academics in continuing research on policy research in the UAE and Gulf on labour and mobility issues.
  2. There is interest of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) to be an anchor institute in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Labor.
  3. Researchers are eager to work with the UAE Ministry on its data sets for research purposes.
  4. There is interest among researchers on many research questions, including the following:
    • The Wage Protection System (WPS)
    • Emiritization and an assessment of the various ‘Gulfization’ (nationalization) initiatives to see what worked in each case
    • Study of how the UAE Government wants to set objectives and how they can inspire other labor reform initiatives in other countries
    • Empirical research on public sector compensation for nationals and estimation of the magnitude of wages and benefits

All the academics and researchers were very interested in the policy questions of critical importance to the UAE Ministry of Labor. There was a great interest in working with the Ministry on its datasets and for research to obtain answers to questions of significance to the Ministry.  A number of researchers were interested in a formal relationship with the Ministry in a consultative capacity. All participants were interested in continuing discussions and deliberations similar to the current one.