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February 12, 2009
Foreign workers leave Dubai en masse as economy spirals

The biggest city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, is known for real estate, finance and trade. But now, with the slumping economy, many foreigners who worked in Dubai are being laid off and thousands are leaving the once-booming city.

Link TV’s “Mosaic” program explores the fate of Lebanese workers in Dubai. Below, bloggers in Dubai and elsewhere discuss Dubai’s dilemma.

An architect at the “Seth State” blog blames overzealous business practices during Dubai’s boom for the current situation:

In ways I saw this coming, but not to the extent that my job would cease to exist. […] Dubai was growing unchecked, but we were getting so many new projects and working towards regular deadlines the end did not seem eminent.  Did I agree with everything we were doing there?  No, but it was a paycheck and we were working on some amazing projects.

[…]Dubai as many of you know had become a fantasy land.  They were building anything and everything.  Recreating locations of the past in the desert.  One project was directly modeled after Bath, England.  Dubai wanted to be everything to everyone.  Bigger, brighter, and more expensive seemed to be the goal. […] When things were good, many people mortgaged their lives.  The economy is crashing and these ludicrous buildings and islands are going to stand as relics and reminders of what not to do.

My question is who will live here?  Why would you live here?  People are fleeing in alarming numbers, leaving their vehicles at the airport.

Blogger “Mohd Fudzail” describes one such scene, discussing the abandoned cars parked near his workplace:

There is a new big parking space near my office to park unsold cars. The car sales have dropped drastically as well as local police have found at least 3,000 automobiles — sedans, SUVs, regulars — abandoned outside Dubai International Airport in the last four months.

Police say most of the vehicles had keys in the ignition, a clear sign they were left behind by owners in a hurry to take flight. A large number of such owners are from Indian, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries

Blogger “Anna” writes from the UAE, arguing that media reports of Dubai’s fall are overblown:

Is Dubai’s economy disintegrating before our eyes? Is the former boomtown only a few more failed investments away from bankruptcy? The NY Times seems to think so, although from my perspective here on the ground, I’m not so convinced.

I was in Dubai earlier this week and I saw little evidence that the emirate is in trouble. The “mostly clear” roads described in the Times article were certainly nowhere in evidence as we battled traffic for 45 minutes on our way to dinner at a Sri Lankan restaurant only one neighborhood away from where we’d started. The brand new Dubai Mall filled up with shoppers as soon as the workday ended, and even if this can be attributed in part to the steep discounts (up to 75 percent) currently offered at many retail outlets in honor of the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival, it was still a sign that Dubaians aren’t hoarding their dirhams so closely that they can’t still indulge in frivolous consumerism.

In the end, it may be exactly that enthusiasm to spend, spend, spend that Dubai is famous for that saves them, keeping their economy alive where that of the thrifty Americans failed.




The world economy, as with water, will seek it’s own level!!


Is Dubai really in so much trouble, I have been offered a position in Abu-Dhabi business sector in September 2009 – Please advise. Yvonne South Africa


[…] me its  pretty surpising.  Dubai: The Collapse has well read and I really owe that popularity to World Focus.  For those out there reading feel free to comment.  Let me know if agree or disagree with points […]


to maxgmax, you really believe what the Dubai Cheif of Police says and the media???

I work in a local media company and we censor out all the “negative”.


Most of the media reports are exaggerated, in fact the chief of police reported in the news paper that only 11 cars are abandoned in the airport ( ).

The traffic is still a problem in Dubai and i would agree with Anna, i just came back from City Center which is a famous shopping mall and people were shopping like crazy grabbing the special offers.

Yes, Dubai is affected by the financial crisis like any other country, but lot less affected then the US and the my guess is the recovery will be quick.

lets not forget Dubai has done a lot of good to a lot of expatriates for many years, great place to live, the crime rate is very low, security is high, no taxes, great infrastructure and still developing.

Not that Dubai is Utopia and it has its own drawbacks but i like to look at the positive side. of everything and this is how i feel about Dubai.



Dubai was an unrealistic proposition from day 1. I remember asking my friend who deals in real estate that I couldn’t understand the real estate boom, because there was unlimited sandlots to sell anyhow. He in true bubble style, told me the Dubai market will never crash. Hold on to your hats brothers because this insanity might finally be coming to a stop.

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