Egyptian builders will participate in 2022 World Cup

Ahmed Feteha, Wednesday 8 Jun 2011

Massive projects undertaken in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup may provide a welcome opportunity for Egyptian workers smarting from recent job losses in Libya and the Gulf

Khalifa stadium
Qatar's main stadium - soon to be joined by five more (Photo: Reuters)

New opportunities for Egyptian labour are likely to emerge in the build-up to 2022's World Cup in Qatar.

On Tuesday, Qatari officials announced the oil-rich state is planning to offer its first tender for a US$36 billion rail project in the coming three months. It also plans to complete its first air-conditioned stadium by 2015.
Egypt’s labour minister, Ahmed Hassan El-Boraie, said Tuesday that talks are underway to open up the Qatari market for Egyptian labour.
As the first Arab country to host football's biggest global event, Qatar is aiming to impress. Massive infrastructure projects have been announced, including five air-conditioned stadiums, a railway, metro and even artificial clouds to tone down the unforgiving Arabian sun.
El-Boraie said that Qatar could be a formidable replacement for other formerly labour-intensive markets in the region that are now facing hardships, namely Libya and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia's recent decision to limit foreign labourers in Saudi companies has also raised doubts about the status of Egyptians working there.
Estimates for the number of Egyptians working in Libya, Saudi Arabia and UAE reach as high as 3.5 million. Exact figures of expatriates are not available, according to statements made by the head of CAPMAS, Egypt’s official statistics body, to the daily El-Youm El-Sabea.
“Egypt has been very lucky with this Qatari opportunity, especially with one million labourers returning from Libya,” said Saleh Nasr, head of the employment companies division in the Chamber of Commerce.
Nasr said that the number of Egyptian workers in Qatar is insignificant compared to other Gulf countries, but he expects it to boom in the coming years.
“As far as we know, no official accords between Egypt and Qatar have been signed yet,” he added.
Remittances from Egyptians abroad amounted to $9.5 billion in 2009-10 and is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency, along with tourism revenues and Suez Canal receipts. 
Following the 25 January uprising, these remittances seem to have grown. They were up 42 per cent in the 9-month period between July 2010 and March 2011, with a late surge an apparent response to calls to expatriates to support Egypt’s economy.
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