Dubai: The UAE’s economic model has proved that the global mobility of people is key to rapid and sustainable economic development, according to a panel discussion organised by Henley & Partners on importance of global labour mobility.

The panel focused the conversation around the increasing threats to global mobility and its imperative role in all aspects affecting people, businesses, communities and economies collectively.

“Sitting on the crossroads of trade and mobility, Dubai is indeed the best example of how an open economy can thrive and at the same time positively benefit people,” said Marco Gantenbein, Director at Henley & Partners Middle East.

The panel discussed the recent world events and how these have been restricting global mobility, and as a result, affecting different layers of economic sustainability including innovation, creativity, talent acquisition and financial dynamism.

“While global mobility and free movement of labour, have enriched nations overall, they have had a rather unequal impact across society. Traditionally, in developed economies, the more skilled and higher educated groups have disproportionally benefited from free movement of labour, while the mid to low-level income segments have shouldered more of the negative externalities,” said Samir Sweida-Metwally, Senior Analyst at Emerging Markets Intelligence and Research.

Analysts said a number of policy reforms are needed to enhance the global movement of people. “One key factor that has become apparent from the current global landscape is that mobility and migration is a major human development issue that goes hand in hand with globalisation of innovation, technology and youth engagement. Mobility is also important from the view of driving sustainable development goals,” Alaa Odeh, Senior Associate at Globesight.

Open door policy

Contrary to the political rhetoric, experts said migrants from emerging economies have helped their host economies with innovative ideas that address social challenges and open economies have benefited from labour migration.

Speaking at the panel, Nasif Kayed, CEO and Founder of Arab Culturalist said UAE’s economic dynamism is rooted in its open door policy. “The UAE has always been an open economy allowing the flow of people from all levels of society from all over the world, as it is evident with expats constituting over 85 per cent of UAE’s population. Dubai’s globalised approach of providing people the best of both worlds has distinctly set it apart from the other countries in the region and abroad,” said Kayed.

Experts said governments across the world should work towards more open approach to migration. “Authorities and governments should stop giving undue consideration to factors related to ‘country of birth’, and treat people as global citizens by taking into account our contributions and the value people bring in as international professionals,” said Samer K. Taher, Managing Director of Meirc Training and Consulting.