Are immigrants helping or hindering the Kurdish economy!
For an economy to succeed it seems there are two essential ingredients; national resources and a skilled workforce. Right now, at the risk of over simplification, Kurdistan has the oil but doesn't have man power needed. Part of the solution seems to have dropped from the sky; the influx of local and outside immigrants. One is surprised at how frequently you meet a foreign worker be it when you go to a shop, visit a construction site (manual laborers and engineers), or at a hotel! The scarcity of good labour locally has been compensated for by Kurdistan's neighbors. Due to the the lack of political and economic stability in Iraq, and the deliberate lack of education during the Saddam regime, there has always been a shortage of skilled workers in Kurdistan. As luck would have it, we now have an abundance of skilled and unskilled labour who have immigrated from neighboring countries. The most numerous labour immigrations, have come from central and southern Iraq, and Syria due to security and unemployment problems. In Iran it's more due to lack of work opportunities than anything else. This has come at a time when the quality of local labour, especially unskilled labour, has dropped down. One of the primary reasons is the pouring in of oil revenues in the form of government wages for the people which has given laborers additional income and so less incentive to work. The situation has accumulated to a degree which has affected national productivity levels. Simultaneously pushing labor costs up and lowering work standards. What effect did this influx of foreigners have? Initially there was a problem absorbing the large number of immigrants estimated in hundreds of thousands. Accommodation and service costs has shot up. Demographic changes have been inevitable and long term socioeconomic effects are already taking place. However apart from the economic benefits there has also been cultural and social benefits. Prior to the influx of foreigners, which coincided with the export of Kurdish oil, Kurdistan had relatively few foreigners and little awareness of what non Kurdish people are like. The rapid rate of economic change that Kurdistan is experiencing is remarkable and exciting however the downside of this is the petrodollar is like lottery money which is depriving the lottery winner of the incentive to work and is depending on others to do the essential works and the worker may ultimately be indispensable for the lottery winner to survive.