Dubai beyond the skyscrapers: the story of Migrants

Think Dubai, and one of the first things that will come to your mind would be some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, glitzy parties, and a lifestyle that many of us can only dream of. But did you know that about 80% percent of UAE's population is made up of migrants, and most of these are workers from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan?

Who are these people? Why do they come to Dubai so far away from home? What is their life like?

Dubai UAE story migrants pakistan india bangladesh
Migrants of Dubai

These questions came to my mind when every single cab driver I met in Dubai was from the Indian subcontinent and spoke Hindi/ Urdu. After the first day itself I started talking them in Hindi assuming that they would know the language, and they did. Every single time. However, I got to meet some of the migrants to Dubai at the Deira Fish market on early morning and this is a story of some of the these young men, mostly from Pakistan and a few from India.

So what is Deira fish market like? Here's a video - take a look.



Stories of Migrants

Here are some stories of men who have left their homes and settled down in Dubai, even if temporarily, to make a life for themselves and their families.

A post shared by Siddhartha Joshi (@siddharthajoshi) on








A post shared by Siddhartha Joshi (@siddharthajoshi) on




If you enjoyed this post, perhaps you will also enjoy this guide: Offbeat Dubai Travel Guide

Comments

  1. Interesting, though when I clicked on your Wikipedia reference it actually states that 80% of the private workers are made of immigrants. It's true that the UAE does have the highest percentage of immigrants in relation to their own Emirati nationals. I'm not sure how many actual asylum seekers there are in UAE though, and I imagine that like many places the migrants don't actually work because they cannot legally find jobs.

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  2. Interesting but I'm left curious for more information! Who are these people? Why are they migrants? Why are there so many? What historical and economic factors are contributing to this situation? I'd love to see a longer and more in depth post answering some questions!

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  3. What lovely photos. I was lucky enough on my visit to Dubai to be taken on a tour by an Indian guide. He explained that all the riches of the Emirates belong to a very small number of Emirati families - but that the standard of living for all expats is better than back home. I'm still not sure it is a healthy situation - though quite fascinating to see.

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  4. Interesting! Dubai is so expensive it's hard to comprehend they would have much money to send home

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  5. Loved to read. Interesting post. Amazing clicks.

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  6. The stories of migrants are always fascinating to read. Its hard to uproot yourself, whether you have to, want to, or are being forced to. Your images tell a great story and some of these I have seen on your Instagram previously. Wonderful post.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  7. The locals in any destination are always so interesting. The people often make a destination so awesome and you proved that. It's fun to hear the stories of the people that live here.

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  8. This was fascinating, I had no idea there were so many migrants from India & Pakistan in Dubai! It is true, you usually just see the flashy face of Dubai, I found it very fake when I visited, you were lucky to catch a glimpse of what lies beneath.

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  9. These are great pictures. It's great to hear a bit about the migrant workers and learn who they are.

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  10. These are a moving images and a fascinating story. I learned quite a few things about Dubai- guess I should learn some Hindi!

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  11. Amazing variety of human stories.

    Mollyx

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