Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Social Capital and Citizens’ Attitudes towards Migrant Workers

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Abstract:  This study examines Qatari citizens’ attitudes toward migrant workers. While much research has been conducted on citizens’ attitudes toward the abolition, tightening, or loosening of the Kafāla system in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with regard to migrant workers’ residency rights, and on their contribution to the economic development of these countries, little is known about how citizens’ religiosity and social engagement impact their acceptance of migrant workers. In the present study, we address this question by examining the effects of religious and social capital on Qatari citizens’ preferences for having Arab and Western migrant workers as neighbours, drawing on data from two nationally representative surveys in Qatar. The results indicate that, even after controlling for a wide range of socio-demographic attributes, social capital in terms of trust and bridging social ties has a strong effect on the Qatari nationals’ preferences.

Keywords:  Gulf Cooperation Council countries; kafāla system; migrant workers; public attitudes, social capital



© Abdoulaye Diop, Yaojun Li, Majed Mohammed H. A. Al-Ansari, Kien T. Le. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.