‘Western workers favoured in UAE’, survey respondents say

Of those asked, 77 per cent of respondents agree an emphasis is placed on a person’s passport

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ABU DHABI // The majority of residents believe salary disparity between nationalities is an issue in the workplace, with many feeling westerners enjoy preferential treatment.

Of those asked, 77 per cent of respondents agree an emphasis is placed on a person’s passport.

Three quarters of UAE residents (73 per cent) believe a person’s nationality determines their social and professional mobility and more than eight out 10 survey respondents (85 per cent) agree that salary disparity between nationalities is an issue in the workplace.

All these ideas are more likely to be believed by expatriates then by Emiratis.

Vijay Kumar, an Indian expatriate, feels westerners are favoured.

“There is a disparity in salaries but this also depends on designation and competence and performance play a role,” he said. “Many employers prefer to hire someone who would not need to get a visa every time they travel.

“Apart from being paid better, those with passports from the West also have better job opportunities if they want to shift to a new job.”

Aqif Halim, 26, a Pakistani, agrees.

“I feel that people who have a passport from a western country are given more preference in my country compared to UAE,” said Mr Halim, who works in the marketing division of a finance firm in Abu Dhabi.

Jimelyn Escano, 41, from the Philippines, said she had heard people with passports from western countries get better salaries.

“They have better opportunities and they get paid more,” she said.

Egyptian expatriate Sally Mohsen Antoun feels some workforces would not hire some nationalities.

“Sometimes your nationality will determine your career,” she said. “Some companies ask for western in case the job requires a lot of travel. They want a passport that doesn’t require visa requests. So it is not to be taken as discrimination as much as additional criteria.”

She believes European expatriates are favoured over other nationalities, especially Asian nationalities.




A survey, commissioned by The National and carried out by YouGov, polled 1,056 Emiratis and expatriates on social integration in the UAE. Results showed that respondents believed expatriates had an obligation to gain a basic knowledge of Arabic culture and Islamic influence before relocating to the UAE. The survey showed that UAE residents are willing to mix with different nationalities however differences become apparent at the workplace where salary disparities exist depending on an employees nationality.

Read more on our social integration survery here:

Expats should be more aware of UAE culture, survey respondents say

UAE residents stress importance of preserving Arabic language

UAE residents happy to mix with different nationalities, survey shows