Examining the relationship between migration, labour and crime in UAE
: the case of Dubai

  • Ahmed Al Hashemi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has successfully established itself as one of the most economically advanced countries in the world; among the various cities of the UAE, Dubai stands out as an economical and business hub for the whole world. Dubai has established itself as one of the fastest growing states, as a preferred economic city for global trade, commercial transaction and a tourist hot spot for the whole world. Such key factors have proved the main impetus to the Dubai construction industry, which in turn has attracted workers from many countries. However, these workers, though contributing heavily to Dubai’s growing need to develop physical infrastructure, are mostly less educated, unskilled and mainly come from the sub-continents such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
This group of workers now dominate, outnumbering other foreign communities and even the local nationals of Dubai. Such workers are also considered, by the local citizens, to have created many social problems, including involvement in serious crimes. Therefore there is a need to investigate and explore the issues associated with the immigration of workers. This study has focussed on the activities of these migrant workers and their involvement in various crimes in Dubai. The study also investigates the main causes of social problems, and concludes that there is a lack of appropriate socio-economic conditions for the migrant workers. The study further explores the needs for effective and meaningful integration of migrant workers as well as considering relevant legal systems in Dubai in order to suggest changes which may help to reduce the crimes committed by this demographic in Dubai.
These issues are supported by a critical analysis of the main theoretical framework and existing literature. The study also brings together three new data sources for the first time: semi-structured interviews with Police Officers; an analysis of criminal cases involving migrant workers from the Naiff Police Station; and data from the Dubai Ministry of Interior Statistics. All these sources support the thesis that there is link between crime and the socio-economic conditions of migrant workers in Dubai.
The study also concludes that there is need to implement more meaningful and effective ways of implementing legal systems in Dubai. In particular, the study suggests that there is a need to improve the effective and meaningful implementation of the immigration system in Dubai, focusing on modernisation and regular updating of immigration data. This may help in improve the socio-economic conditions of migrant workers in Dubai as well as reducing crimes committed by such workers.
Date of AwardSep 2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTom Ellis (Supervisor) & Tom Ellis (Supervisor)

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