A warm welcome for Vietnamese workers

News that Vietnamese could be the latest nationality to work as labourers in the UAE’s thriving construction sector is extremely welcome. Everyone associated with the industry will be hoping that an experiment by Turkish contractor TAV to draft in 50 workers from the South East Asian country — to work on its Majestic Tower contract in Sharjah — reaps real benefits.

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By  Tim Wood Published  July 1, 2006

|~||~||~|News that Vietnamese could be the latest nationality to work as labourers in the UAE’s thriving construction sector is extremely welcome. Everyone associated with the industry will be hoping that an experiment by Turkish contractor TAV to draft in 50 workers from the South East Asian country — to work on its Majestic Tower contract in Sharjah — reaps real benefits. After all with the boom in the construction industry in the Gulf showing no signs of slowing down, the more workers available to project teams the merrier. Especially as, according to Ani Ray, TAV’s regional director, the Vietnamese are multi-skilled. However, the labourers’ arrival coincides with predictions that their own country is set for more prosperous times. Vietnam, a one-party communist state, now has one of South East Asia’s fastest-growing economies and has set its sights on becoming a fully developed nation by 2020. And construction will have a major role in achieving this goal. Experts suggest that the sector will have more opportunities and challenges once Vietnam enters the World Trade Organisation in the ‘very near future’. Under the terms of entry, more favourable conditions for developing production and creating jobs and, most importantly, better living standards of labourers, are a must. Construction enterprises will also have access to new technology and will import higher quality equipment, material and services at low prices. So why are the Vietnamese leaving their homeland? There are no reports of problems with conditions on labour camps, and there have been no walkouts, or fights among workers, as far as Construction Week is aware. All seems tranquil when compared to over here. It can’t even be the fact that they are being paid more — the wages for the Vietnamese are, according to TAV, at the same level as for the Indian and Pakistani workers that it employs. No, what attracts them is Dubai itself — the sheer size of the projects, the variety of the work they could get involved in, and the levels of commitment and dedication shown by their colleagues who are making the emirate, as well as the rest of the Gulf, world leaders in the field of construction. Ray claims that few UAE companies are using Vietnamese workers, but is confident that this could change due to immigration processes becoming easier for all parties. One hopes that these changes and all the kudos that goes with working on projects across the Middle East results in the trickle of Vietnamese workers arriving in Dubai becoming a flood. If this does happen the industry should be there waiting for them with open arms.||**||

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