ABU DHABI // The UAE has provided almost one million jobs a year between 2009 and last year despite the global economic crisis, says the Minister of Labour, Saqr Ghobash.
"The UAE, in spite of the global financial crisis, has managed to provide one million jobs annually, which has significantly reduced the unemployment numbers in the region," Mr Ghobash said.
He said the relationship between migration and development in the UAE was in line with the United Nations' labour policy for 2015.
"The Gulf Cooperation Council is the third-largest regional organisation worldwide in terms of remittances," Mr Ghobash said.
He said the conference would contribute greatly to the development of new policies for labour mobility.
The Bahraini labour minister, Jameel Humaidan, said labour issues in the region had political, economic, cultural and social factors.
"We have to set strong principles between receiving and labour exporting countries to establish cooperation that is beneficial to both sides," Mr Humaidan said.
He said with 1.5 million jobs being made available annually in the GCC, the region was one of the largest employment providers in the world.
"The $80bn annually remitted is sent to 150 million people worldwide who make use of it," he said.
Arabian Gulf countries vigilantly try to protect workers' rights, Mr Humaidan said, although they needed to be more vocal about their actions.
"Gulf countries are trying to continuously develop protection systems and laws for workers," he said.
"However, international organisations are still viewing this as insufficient, despite large strides being taken by GCC countries, therefore Gulf countries should promote more their development and support for workers rights."
Dhikra Al Rashidi, Kuwait's minister of social and labour affairs, said: "We have to concentrate on the negative impacts of expatriate workers and deal with them systematically and scientifically.
These negative impacts included cultural and social factors, she said at the conference.
Ms Al Rashidi called on GCC countries to work together to develop policies that create a balance between labour-importing and exporting countries.
She said that the exchange of information is key between the countries, as well as the development of a balance between development objectives and economic requirements.