Building Nations with Non-nationals
Ivan Szelenyi was the Foundation Dean of Social Sciences at NYUAD in 2010–2014 and during his tenure there he carried out a study of Pakistani guest workers who had worked in the United Arab Emirates and were about to take up a job in this country. About 90 percent of the population of the UAE are guest workers (about half of this population is from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). The critical research question for the study was: is it sustainable to build a nation with 90 percent who are not-nationals and have no legal channels to become citizens of the country where they spend occasionally a substantial part of their life? Can people from different ethno-sectarian background merge into a well functioning society? Given labor shortages in Europe and North America and extraordinary pressure to migrate to these countries these questions do have relevance well beyond the Gulf Monarchies.