Driving along excellent roads and looking at all the buildings that have gone up in the last forty years, you wonder how Pakistan has been able to supply all this manpower needed to support the incredible development of Oman. And Oman is not even “using” that many: only 25% of its population are expatriates. This is nothing compared to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, where their numbers climb as high as 90%. There is clear order. Bangladeshi work the fields, Indians run shops and restaurants. Young women from South East Asia seem in high demand as waitresses, hotel staff and flight attendants.
The Pakistani are at the low end of this expatriates’ hierarchy. The working conditions on construction sites are gruesome, especially in the scorching heat – only when temperatures exceed 50 degrees, work comes to a halt.
The pay for such hardship? 300 – 400 Euro a month and no medical insurance (although visits to doctors are cheap). This explains why hundreds of thousands of men live among themselves, without a family. To bring a wife and children would add school fees and medical bills. They simply could not support them with such low salaries, let alone save money. And this is what they came for: get a job that pays “a fortune” compared to Pakistan, save and go back home. The fact that many have lived abroad for their whole life is another story…
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