Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 21:21 | SYDNEY
Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 21:21 | SYDNEY

The Gulf: Of rice and men

By

Rodger Shanahan

@RodgerShanahan

30 July 2008 11:01

The oil boom and reliance on expatriate workers for all manner of menial, middle management and construction tasks has created a property boom in all Gulf states over the past five years. Spiraling rent prices and lack of stock have impacted most heavily on the expatriate workers, who find accommodation hard to get and as a consequence are easily exploited. Overcrowding and a lack of regular and committed inspections have resulted in the situation where the ubiquitous ‘bachelor’ accommodation  has become in some ways a euphemism for residential squalor.

At the same time, the rise in oil prices and reliance by Gulf states on food imports has seen the price of basic foodstuffs rise considerably, further eroding the earnings of expatriate workers. Now it would appear that a food and accommodation ‘perfect storm’ is emerging. Inspectors looking for evidence of overcrowding at an Abu Dhabi villa found the owner hoarding not only expatriate workers (38 of them, as well as two families) but also over two tonnes of basmati rice.

Photo by Flickr user JakeBrewer, used under a Creative Commons license.