As a percentage of the local community, there is no doubt that more Indians live in the United Arab Emirates than any other Indian city outside India. There is a history between India and the United Arab Emirates that dates back centuries and leads to robust trade and cultural ties. While many expatriates from other parts of the world moved to the UAE, and Dubai in particular, after the economic boom began a decade ago, this was not the case about the local Indian committee.
However, there have been changes and difficulties in the recent past.
Even though over 40% of the UAE’s locals are of Indian origin, this has not stopped recent clashes related to cultural beliefs and religion. However, it was not just Indian society that experienced a change in the law, as many other expatriate communities also experienced a crackdown on specific practices such as alcohol consumption in the UAE.
As we mentioned above, the economy of the United Arab Emirates has increased dramatically during the past decade. Although the situation in Dubai, in particular, has worsened over the past few years, it is still much more durable than more than ten years ago. These extreme fluctuations in the local economies of the United Arab Emirates have witnessed the return of several migrants to their countries of origin with high unemployment and the persistence of banking liquidity problems.
We may see in the short term a drop in the number of arrivals settling in regions like the UAE. Still, when it comes to the Indian community, there are many second and third-generation families settled there. It remains to be seen whether the recent cultural clashes will continue or not. Still, it seems that many of them revolve around the economic situation that worsened during the past two years.
Living in the Emirates
Indians living in the UAE will see a significant increase in the cost of living over the past decade, and this shows no signs of slowing despite the slowdown in the economy. Historically, the relatively high level of wages available for jobs in real estate, technology, and many service industries may have supported the relatively high cost of living, but this has changed somewhat recently.
Many people will be surprised when they know that the population of the United Arab Emirates is 40% of people with direct or indirect ties to India. There is a link between two regions of the world that go back hundreds of years and are likely to remain relatively intact for some time. It will be interesting to know if other expatriate communities continue to grow despite the economic situation, and if those who have fled the Emirates in large numbers return, when the good times come back.