Yemeni study: the majority of expatriates are from rural areas, 79% of whom are married [Archives:2005/860/Business & Economy]

July 18 2005

By Nabil al-Osaidi
For the Yemen Times

The Yemeni immigration constituted a selective phenomenon in terms of type and age. Analytical study, done by Dr. Waheeba Far'e, Queen Arwa University Rector and Dr. Nora Ali Ahmad Professor of Sociology at Sana'a University, indicated that 98% of immigrants coming from the rural areas are males and this has its negative effect on gender inside the Yemeni society.

The ages of expatriates range between 15 and 44, and this is thought of as the stage of productivity among youth.

Concerning features of immigration and the Yemeni immigrant and their influences on the society, the study mentioned that 79 percent of immigrants are married, 94 percent immigrated without their families.

According to the study, the majority of expatriates coming from the rural areas are farmers and craftsmen that have not got access to education. Most of them have humble jobs such as construction, however all of them share the same goal, that is to improve their living standards.

The study added that expatriates in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries left their families to devote all their efforts to the countries they work in. All this has its negative impacts on the future of the country.

From the point of view of the two researchers, the negative effects of immigration are represented by the absence of the productive elements. Most of the youth leave the agricultural work, causing extra burden upon the rural women and an increase in the wages of workers as well as an increase in the production cost. In addition, there is a noticeable deterioration in the agricultural crops, more tendency in importing products and replacing the local workforce by a foreign one.

The phenomenon of immigration contribute to inflation due to the increasing cash flow and transfers from expatriates to their relatives, as well the emergence of some unacceptable behaviors such raising dowries and marriage cost. This led most of the rural families to prefer expatriates to others when proposing marriage to their daughers.

According to the findings of the study and its randomly selected sample numbering up to 507 women from Sana'a, Taiz, Hadramout, Hodeida and Ibb, there is a positive tendency toward reproduction , and only 9.5% of the rural women do not have children, and there is still a great chance for giving birth.

With respect to the rate of children per women, the governorate of Hadramout topped the list of governorates followed by Ibb with each woman having four children, and 4-6 children in the other three governorates.

Regarding the educational status of married women whose husbands are expatriates, the study showed that 72% of them are illiterate, 17.6% have a humble access to reading and writing, 5.1% have primary school certificates and 1% of them completed secondary school. A very low percentage of expatriate's wives are university graduates.

In the case of husbands, illiteracy does not exceed 26.2%, 44% of who have access to reading and writing. The remaining percentage is shared by primary and secondary school holders and university graduates.

The study made a mention that the period of immigration a husband spends has its positive effects on the improvment on the economic conditions and living standards of a family.

The houses of long time expatriates are found to be well furnished and decorated. Some expatriates are realized to establish projects for their children to add to the family income including the purchase of lands in the cities and other agricultural lands.

There is a proportional relation between the period an expatriate spends away from his family and the daily expenses of the family. The study clarified that expatriates could pay previous debts on them and provide the basic needs of their families and children.

The study also showed a relation between a husband being an expatriate and his wife shouldering the responsibility of the family. Wives of expatriates are found to contribute economically to add to the family income. They pursue several handicrafts inside and outside their families to make money.

With regard to the social situations of the family, they seem to be negatively influenced by the phenomenon of immigration, and numerous expatriates have been found to get married to other women. Wives are not allowed to dispose money of her husband while living with her relatives in the house.

Confining the role of wives and preventing them from disposing their husbands money as they like are among the factors that weaken the morale and the spirit of women and may, in some cases, destroy their lives.