//Indian expats 'are equal to 29 nationalities' in UAE

Indian expats 'are equal to 29 nationalities' in UAE

By Samir Salama, Bureau Chief, Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: India’s diversity and multi-cultural ethnicity should be considered when work quotas for Indians are granted in the UAE, the Indian ambassador said yesterday.

He was speaking after the unveiling of the dedication plaque for a new Dh30-million building for the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) yesterday by Shaikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Economy and Planning Department.

Apart from top government officials and Indian Ambassador C.M. Bhandari, the ceremony was attended by members of the Indian community.

The new building will be constructed on land allotted by the Abu Dhabi government on Mina Street.

"I admire the liberal outlook and plurality of society of this great country since its founding, values that we too cherish in India and hold steadfast. Ours is the largest expatriate community but also the most peaceful, hard working and loyal. We are 1.1 billion people back home coming from 29 states, which are totally different in language, ethnicity, culture, cuisine and traditions.

"Therefore, when you get expatriates from India, it is like 29 nationalities adding to your diversity.

"This fact needs to be recognised in granting liberal work quota to Indians to ensure that businesses in the UAE continue to be most competitive," Bhandari said.

Labour rules set a restriction that expatriate workers from a country must not exceed 35 per cent of the staff of any business in the UAE.

The ambassador said the new building should also have facilities such as a shelter for the needy. He also stressed the need to provide counselling services for the community.

ISC aims to add 1,000 members to the current roll of 3,500 members on a first-come-first-serve basis in a month.

03/11/2006, Gulf News