Gulf Construction Tracker: Analysis

The Gulf Construction Tracker was launched as a tool for research and advocacy on migrant workers’ rights in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE) in 2017. Using publicly available sources, it tracks the awarding of construction contracts in the countries and enables us to identify  who is employing large numbers of migrant labourers to work on construction sites.

The below research briefings use data from the Tracker to increase transparency on which companies are winning awards, the value of contracts, who is awarding contracts (private or state-owned companies) and the types of projects being built. By cross-referencing with our research tracking allegations of labour abuse against migrant workers in the Gulf and previous survey outreach to construction companies, we highlight particular areas of risk to migrant worker welfare.

To reach us with questions about the tracker or to submit information please contact us at [email protected].

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26 March 2020

Migrant Workers at Risk: Trends in Gulf Construction 2018-2019

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Construction across the [Gulf] has been driven by a growing tourist industry and preparations for mega-international events in several countries... Between January 2018 and December 2019, 594 construction contracts were awarded, with a total value of $USD 118.9bn. 82% of the contract value went to international companies...

89 new construction projects awarded work to companies that have failed to disclose how they protect migrant workers... 61 companies who had previously been accused of human rights abuses also won contracts... [13 were] accused of labour rights abuse in the Gulf...

7 companies awarded contracts for renewable energy were involved in allegations of human rights abuse.

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20 October 2019

UAE & Migrant Workers’ Rights: One Year to Expo 2020

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Construction workers, who represent an estimated 34% of the total workforce in the UAE, are among the most vulnerable as construction companies fail to safeguard migrant workers rights. The snapshot finds that 62 new construction projects awarded since January 2018 went to companies that have failed to disclose how they protect migrant workers.  

The snapshot also finds that the UAE government has a big role in awarding construction projects, with $25.3 billion - 66% of the contracts (by monetary value) - since January 2018 awarded by government-linked clients. The snapshot closes with guidance to clients, companies and investors on advancing migrant worker rights.

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1 April 2018

Gulf Construction Tracker: 2017 Trends in Contract Awards

Author: Mariam Bhacker (BHRRC), David Segall (NYU Stern School of Business) & Rola Abimourched (Humanity United)

The Trend Analysis delves deeper into the data collected, identifying the companies awarding and receiving contracts and the country-level trends and priority areas in construction spending. The initial analysis identifies Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the most active construction markets in the GCC and therefore likely to employ larger numbers of low-income migrant workers. Much like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has galvanized advocacy on migrant workers’ rights in the country, the 2020 World Expo in Dubai and Saudi’s development ambitions under Vision 2030 could provide similar leverage.

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