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November 2002, Volume 9, Number 11

Middle East

Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Interior Minister confirmed on October 14 that the government will start fingerprinting Americans entering the kingdom. New US rules require Saudi male visitors to the US to undergo digital fingerprinting and photographing, and to provide information on travel plans.

Bahrain. The Bahraini Minister of Labor and Social Affairs said the 200,000 foreign workers in the country have the right to join unions under the new labor and trade unions law. The law grants fundamental rights to both local and foreign workers, including the right to participate in collective agreements and strikes.

India/Pakistan. India is becoming a major exporter of software and related computer technologies. According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, an Indian trade group, the value of technology products and services exported from India rose from $1 billion in 1997 to $6 billion in 2001.

Some 150,000 Pakistanis are expected to leave for overseas jobs in 2002, about 12,500 a month.

Israel. The chair of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Children says that there are more than 3,000 children, most born in Israel, who have parents who are illegal foreign workers.

Lebanon. Over 12 million people of Lebanese origin live abroad, making Lebanon a country with more of its people living outside than inside the country. The largest Lebanese communities abroad are in Ivory Coast, 70,000; Senegal, 30,000; and Nigeria, 25,000. In the Ivory Coast, Lebanese are believed to own companies that generate 60 percent of GDP, including 90 percent of heavy industry.

Tarek el Zein, "Telling a successful story of Lebanese immigration," Daily Star, October 21, 2002. Anees Al-Qedaihy, "Naif confirms Kingdom will fingerprint Americans," Arab News, October 15, 2002. "Expats in Bahrain have the right to join unions," Gulf News, September 27, 2002.