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Qatar population hits 2.5 million on worker influx

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Doha: Qatar’s population has reached 2.5 million people for the first time, officials said on Wednesday, swollen by the huge numbers of foreign workers employed in the tiny Gulf emirate.

The population now stands at 2,545,000, an official from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics told AFP.

The previous official high was 2.46 million, recorded last November.

About 90 percent of those working in Qatar are not from the country originally.

The population rise has been fuelled by the huge numbers of non-nationals coming to work in Qatar in recent years, many in the gas, oil and construction sectors.

Qatar is undergoing a massive labour-intensive capital investment programme and is preparing to host the football World Cup in 2022.

Emphasising how many workers come from abroad, one Dhaka government official this week estimated that by 2018 one million Bangladeshis will be living in Qatar, many employed within the construction sector.

The latest population high comes despite it being a time of reported job losses, because of the slump in global energy prices, forcing people to leave Qatar.

Qatar’s population explosion has largely occurred in the past decade.

In 1986, according to World Bank and UN figures, Qatar’s population stood at just 398,000.

Ten years later that had increased by little more than 110,000 people and even by 2006, the population of Qatar still registered under one million.

By the time Qatar successfully bid for the World Cup in 2010 however, the population had increased to 1.75 million.

It broke the two million barrier for the first time in 2012.

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