Plans to boost UAE workforce
22 May 2011 Last updated at 10:11 BST
Foreign workers have contributed greatly to the Gulf's rapid growth. From construction workers to office managers, they make up more than 80% of the population in countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.
But governments are becoming more aware that they need to develop the skills of their own people for the future, rather than rely on importing skills and expertise.
The UAE has had an 'Emiratisation' programme for several years but it has recently announced new plans to boost Emiratis in the workforce.
It comes at a time when governments across the region are trying to ensure that dissatisfaction over jobs and opportunities does not spill over into unrest and political instability.
So with the UAE being one of the only countries that has not witnessed unrest in recent months, is ploughing more money into schemes like Emiratisation the answer?
Katy Watson reports.