Histories of Migration to the Gulf (from Transit States)
This introductory chapter discusses the historical roots and evolution of the extreme reliance on temporary migrant workers in the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It focuses, in detail, on the most important changes that the region’s population structure has experienced from the start of the oil era up to the first decade of the twenty-first century. Hence, this chapter aims to lay out the historical backdrop that underpins much of the analysis covered in subsequent chapters. Particular attention is given to areas of similarity within the individual experiences of each of the GCC states. The intention is to present a broad framework for understanding the rise of a demographic system between citizen and non-citizen populations that could be best summarised as ‘restricted citizenship with unrestricted migration’, and to shed light on the most important factors that contributed to its development.