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Demography, Migration, and the Labour Market in Bahrain

  • Françoise De Bel-Air
Publisher: Gulf Research Center
Date of Publication: May 2015
Publications Categories: Research Papers & Analysis


Mid-2013, estimates of Bahrain’s population stood at 1,253,191 persons, of whom 638,361 (51 per cent) were foreign nationals. Most were from Asia (85 per cent) and especially from India (half of all foreign residents). Eighty per cent of expatriates are employed. They account for 77 per cent of the employed population and 81 per cent of the private sector’s workforce. Asians are overwhelmingly involved in services and “blue collar” occupations, while Arabs more often fill managerial posts. Immigration flows to the Kingdom increased significantly over the 2000s, fuelled by high oil prices and the ensuing boom in the construction and services sectors. This demonstrates the difficulty to reconcile labour reforms, and especially, the Bahrainisation of the work force, with the maximisation of economic productivity.

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