New York // The UAE has been ranked in the top 20 per cent of the most livable countries for immigrants as determined by the UN Development Programme. In its annual Human Development Report released this week, the UN agency ranked the UAE 35th among the 182 countries covered, just behind Kuwait (31) and Qatar (33), giving it a high score in a system that uses wealth, health and education as indicators. Norway came in first.
The report praised a number of Government initiatives to improve the lives of foreign labourers but also criticised some ongoing policies, including the system in which immigrants are bound to their sponsor-employer and must often relinquish their passports. The 217-page report praised government initiatives such as the hotline for telephone complaints; the compulsory health insurance programmes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the inspection of 122,000 workplaces in 2007 that resulted in penalties for almost 9,000 rights violations.
But it also complained that immigrants could still be denied full access to schools, colleges, clinics and hospitals. It criticised the deportation of unmarried pregnant women and lamented that some "children with irregular migrant status do not have access to education services". firstname.lastname@example.org