The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is the largest recipient of temporary labor migrants in the world. It hosts 24 million migrant workers (43% of the total GCC population), who in 2012 remitted over $50 billion, outnumbering foreign aid to developing countries and reinforcing the GCC’s emerging economic role in the developing world.
Despite these contributions, many foreign observers argue that the GCC’s Kafala or "sponsor" system — its temporary labor program that operates through sponsorship — exploits migrants. These critics err in homogenizing the GCC states into one monolithic entity, and therefore it is imperative to contextualize each state’s internal challenges — including outdated bureaucracy, dislocated native human capital and security issues — to formulate policy solutions. These particular dilemmas have not only appeared to undermine internal GCC state capacity but also increasingly pose critical institutional constraints to their potential economic growth, development and diplomatic relations.