Emirati diaspora

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Emirati diaspora
الإماراتيون المغتربون
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg
Regions with significant populations
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Other Gulf countries Varies
 United Kingdom 17,161[1][2]
 United States 9,197[3][4]
 Germany 1,152 [3][5]
 Australia 1,700[6]
 Denmark 220[7]
 India 12,470[3]
Arabic (Gulf Arabic or Standard)
Related ethnic groups
Emirati people

The Emirati diaspora (Arabic: الإماراتيون المغتربون‎) comprises Emirati citizens who have emigrated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to other countries, and people of Emirati descent born or residing in other countries.


A part of the worldwide Arab diaspora, the Emirati diaspora is very small, mainly because of the adequate opportunities provided to citizens in the UAE, removing the need for many to live and work in other countries. Many UAE locals also prefer not to work in menial jobs, opting for well paid government jobs instead. However, some skilled Emirati nationals move abroad to avail better work opportunities or gain valuable experience. According to one report, two out of three UAE nationals who moved abroad tended to have skilled credentials.[8] In response to this, and with the growing number of positions in both the public and private sectors in the UAE over the past few years, the UAE government has promoted Emiratisation and started an initiative called "Return2Home" as part of a reverse brain drain, encouraging job opportunities for expatriate Emiratis returning home.[9][10][11]

In addition, many Emiratis go abroad for purposes such as pursuing education in foreign universities,[12] tourism, medical treatment[13] or conducting business. For many Emirati students, studying abroad is an experience of broadening their horizons, international experience and work opportunities, while also reinforcing and keeping intact their cultural values.[14][15]

Most of the small Emirati diaspora is concentrated in the Middle East (mainly the GCC), North America, parts of Europe and Australia. The UAE maintains an extensive diplomatic presence and network of embassies throughout the world.[16]

Emirati nationality law does not offer dual citizenship, hence those who become citizens of other countries have to give up their UAE nationality. The giving up of UAE citizenship is generally frowned upon in Emirati society.[17] Government figures show that around 250 Emiratis became British citizens between 1990 and 2012, while a few others also gained American and Western citizenships over the years. Most such cases are typically of those who have been settled in their resident countries for long periods, or have married foreign spouses.[17]

Population distribution

Middle East

Many UAE nationals live, study or work in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf which form the GCC. This is made easier by the fact that citizens of GCC states enjoy freedom of movement throughout all the GCC member countries, including the right to reside and work, with almost no restrictions.[18][19]

South Asia

A small number of UAE nationals, including students, are also present in South Asia, mainly in Pakistan[20] and India.[9][21][22]

Southeast Asia

Around 200 Emirati students were studying in Malaysia as of 2012.[12] As of 2009, there were about a hundred UAE citizens in Indonesia.[23]

North America

The population of Emirati-Americans is estimated at a few thousand. Most UAE nationals in the US are international students.[24][25] There is also a small Emirati population in Canada, which includes students.[26]


There are over 5,400 Emiratis in the United Kingdom.[2] The UK is the most popular destination for Emirati students.[27] About 3,400 students from the UAE were studying in various UK universities.[28] London has the most significant concentration of the Emirati population in the UK.[29][30] In addition, there are Emiratis in other various countries throughout Europe, mainly students.[31]


In Australia, there were over 1,700 Emirati students as of 2010.[32] There are also a small number of UAE students in New Zealand.[33]

See also


  1. ^ "peoplemovin - A visualization of migration flows". 
  2. ^ a b "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Emiratis Migrating from UAE". 
  4. ^ "UAE students contribute AED243m to US economy". Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit Ausländische Bevölkerung Ergebnisse des Ausländerzentralregisters" (PDF). Statistisches Bundesamt. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  6. ^ "Australia is keen to promote Islamic finance". Khaleej Times. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Population at the first day of the quarter by municipality, sex, age, marital status, ancestry, country of origin and citizenship". Statistics Denmark. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  8. ^ Arafah, Adel (27 October 2005). "Brain drain hits UAE". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Maceda, Cleofe (25 June 2011). "Region enjoys reverse brain-drain". Gulf News. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Monster initiative for expat Emiratis". Emirates 24/7. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Al Binali, Sabah (10 August 2015). "What Emiratis could learn by becoming expats". The National. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Swan, Melanie (1 May 2012). "Many students 'shun Dubai universities for overseas'". The National. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Underwood, Mitya (9 August 2009). "Most would go abroad for medical treatment". The National. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "'I never singled her out for scarf'". Gulf News. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Al Haddad, Amna (20 August 2010). "Stint overseas boosts Emirati identity: study". The National. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "UAE Embassies". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (United Arab Emirates). Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Swan, Melanie (22 May 2014). "More than 250 Emiratis have switched to become British citizens in 22 years, UK figures show". The National. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "List of GCC countries". Dubai FAQs. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "U.A.E. ambassador receives Emirati students in Oman". Zawya. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "Shaikh Khalifa meets Pakistani Prime Minister". Khaleej Times. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "UAE citizens in Pakistan, India urged to report to the embassies". UAE Interact. 27 December 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Panel meets 32 kids of Emiratis in India". Khaleej Times. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "UAE Citizens Safe". Khaleej Times. October 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "US top choice of Emirati students". Khaleej Times. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Helping Emirati Students Prepare for Academic Success in the U.S." Embassy of the United States (Abu Dhabi). 3 September 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Abdullah bin Zayed meets Emirati students in Canada". WAM (Emirates News Agency). 11 July 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  27. ^ Ahmed, Afshan (11 October 2009). "US, UK universities still first preference for UAE students". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  28. ^ "Numbers of UAE Students Studying Abroad Doubled Within a Decade". Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (United Arab Emirates). 25 September 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  29. ^ Hussain, Abdul Ghaffar (10 October 2008). "Emiratis feel at home in London". Gulf News. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  30. ^ "Emirati students feel safe in London but urge caution". The National. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Al-Hashemi, Bushra Alkaff (31 October 2012). "Emirati expats: Living abroad to better serve those at home". The National. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Australia is keen to promote Islamic finance". Khaleej Times. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  33. ^ "UAE students in New Zealand implement first phase of "Iftar" program". UAE Interact. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
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