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Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers.
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The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries employ about 24 million foreign workers, and these foreign workers are 80 percent or more of their private sector workforces. Saudi Arabia, with 20 million citizens and eight million foreigners, is the only GCC country where citizens outnumber foreigners. Two-thirds of Saudi citizens are under 30.
GCC countries require foreigners to have a local citizen sponsor or kafeel who grants permission to enter the country, monitors the stay of the foreigner in the country and approves his/her exit. Many sponsors are only nominally involved in the employment of the migrant workers they sponsor. Instead, they allow their names to be used to sponsor foreigners in exchange for payments of $500 or $1,000 from employers, recruiters or others. Many low-skilled migrants never meet the kafeel who is sponsoring them, and deal with their sponsors only through intermediaries who may be nationals of their country of citizenship.