（English version below）
The Arab Gulf states (referring to the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council) comprise Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As reported in recent World Bank statistics (see the chart below), these six states accept 29 million migrant workers in total and makes them the third major migrant destination of the world, following Europe and North America. Taking notice on the proportion of migrants to the total population of the Arab Gulf states, more than half of their population (56%) now are made up migrants.
The six Arab Gulf states have provided their migrant populations with a range of infrastructural facilities: from furnishing low-end apartments; shopping malls; parks and public transportations partly. Still, a large number of these migrants live in highly segregated environments with divisions based according to nationality, ethnicity and economic strata. Unless they were intermarried or have some social activities in common, they would have little chances of intermingling with other nationalities outside of their worksite. This is more so with their children whose life worlds can be limited between home and school.
Another defining feature is that almost all migrants in the Arab Gulf states are temporary residents. With a few exceptions such as investors, certain categories of specialists, and those who married with the male nationals, foreigners are temporary workers with short term contract employment of about two years. Moreover, if the contract is not renewed or if they are dismissed in the middle of their term, they must leave the country with their family at once. Thus, there is almost no possibility that foreigners can acquire citizenship (or permanent residency) in the Arab Gulf states. In the meanwhile, because these states allow professional workers and/or workers with middle to high income to sponsor family members, some middle-class workers bring their family and stay semi-permanently in the Gulf, though they remain as temporary workers and their dependents.
In this research, we will investigate ‘notions of belongings’ and experiences concerned with rootedness among the second generation Asian Gulf migrants (SAGM). These SAGM are brought up by being marked as foreigners and segregated by nationality and ethnicity, with little relationship with the nationals or being meaningfully included in the host society. Since they are not admitted to the public schools, they study at private schools following the curricula of foreign countries (Western, Indian, Philippine etc.). However, in an interesting twist, the classmates they encounter at these schools are multinational, and this is where the second generation forms new connections and future prospects that are different from those of the first generation.
These SAGM generally speak English fluently, rather than Arabic, partly reflecting the fact that many Arab Gulf cities are transforming themselves from being oil dependent economies to global cities and turning themselves into global hubs of higher education, finance and tourism. Furthermore, they grow up surrounded with globally-known brand products and foods coming from around the world. Many SAGM feel at home within migrant communities of their respective nationality and ethnicity. Nevertheless, neither their country of residence that is unwilling to provide citizenship, nor the parents’ country of origin (country of their passport) where they find security and living conditions are far too poor and social security is underdeveloped, are attractive to many of them as the countries they want to live eventually. Accordingly, their educational and career strategies are set for acquiring ways to immigrate to third countries where they can possibly be citizens and lead comfortable and peaceful lives.
There’s a new global trend of selective migrant policies in labor-receiving countries like US and in Europe, favoring highly skilled workers. Yet we shouldn’t forget that we are also living in an era that countries are being selected by these workers. Little studies have investigated how migrants select countries for their work and settlement. Nowadays, in order to maintain global competitiveness, an increasing number of middle- and high-income countries worldwide including Japan are eyeing to invite more professional and skilled migrant workers from outside. Some of these countries provide professional migrants with special privileges such the permission to bring their families so that they can live longer term and with social lives. Findings from this research will be an important reference point not only limited to cases of the Arab Gulf states, but also to any country which try to accept migrant workers on a temporary basis but with some measures to keep them long-term, by showing concrete examples of what will be social and cultural outcomes of such migrant labor policies.