3m Expats to Be Sent Out Gradually

P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News, October 20, 2011

Nearly three million expatriate workers will have to leave the Kingdom in the next few years as the Labor Ministry has put a 20 percent ceiling on the country’s guest workers.

The ceiling has been set to help find jobs for Saudis and protect the country’s demographic structure.

“The maximum number of long-term expatriate workers in the Kingdom should not exceed 20 percent of the Saudi population,” Al-Eqtisadiah business daily reported Thursday, quoting the Labor Ministry.

The ministry said the long-term plan to cut the number of expatriate workers was aimed at protecting the Kingdom’s demographic structure. Currently, the number of expatriates (8.42 million) accounts for 31 percent of the Saudi population of 18.7 million.

“According to the new plan, about 2.9 million expatriate workers would have to leave the Kingdom,” the paper said. The ministry’s statement came after a meeting of GCC labor ministers decided to step up their campaign to replace expatriates with qualified GCC nationals.

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, who led the Kingdom’s delegation to the GCC meeting in Abu Dhabi, has been spearheading a Saudization campaign through the Nitaqat system–instrumental in creating more jobs for Saudis in the private sector.

Hesham Rowaihy, a management consultant, emphasized the need for a national succession plan that would oversee a smooth transition of jobs from expatriates to Saudis.

“We need a national succession plan driven by the private sector with the support of the Labor Ministry and other government entities. This will enable the ministry to gradually replace expatriate workers with Saudis,” Rowaihy said, adding, “We should strengthen our education and training system in order to supplant the guest workers.”

Every company should have a succession plan to replace expatriates with Saudis, he said. “Elevation of the education system is essential to produce qualified Saudis capable of taking up important positions.”

Rowaihy believed that the new plan would not affect construction projects that employ thousands of low-paid temporary workers.

The ministry’s expat ceiling plan was announced during the Abu Dhabi meeting. “The plan targets long-term workers and exempts those who are employed temporarily to carry out certain projects,” a ministry official said.

During the meeting, Deputy Labor Minister Ahmed Al-Humaidan gave a presentation on the Kingdom’s recruitment policy. “We allow recruitment of foreign workers after studying actual requirement of a company, including its project size and economic activities.”

Al-Humaidan said the ministry differentiates between foreign workers who leave the Kingdom after completing certain projects and those who stay long in the Kingdom for various business activities. “Here’s the need for a ceiling for long-term workers,” he added.

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  • Kenelm Digby

    It never ceases to amaze me that a (perfectly justifiable and sensible) proposal such as this one can be issued by Saudi Arabia, and that it is largely ignored by the World’s media and governments, and if reported at all is just mentioned on passing and matter of factly.

    If any White western nation even hinted at doing the same merry Hell would be raised by the same quarters.

    Why are Saudis given a free pass and Whites are not?

  • Anonymous

    Like the Chinese, the Arabs allow the catagory “long-term expatriate workers” to absolve them of their lack of immigration, yet when whites deny full citizenship to outside races we’re called xenophobes and racists.

    The weak justification for this double standard is “the history of white colonialism”, which is rarely brought up but implicit in the oppression of white rights.

  • Jeddermann.

    At least in Kuwait for a long time the most menial job a local would take was taxi driver. Obvious, know the way around.

    In Saudi for a long time many import workers have been abused, especially the Filipino maids. And you as an outsider have to be very careful. Some of those contract workers ended up kneeling before the high executioner with bad consequences..

  • jewamongyou

    It seems like a very sensible measure – but Saudi Arabia lost that battle a long time ago, when they imported multitudes of black African slaves.

  • anon

    @1 — Kenelm Digby:”Why are Saudis given a free pass and Whites are not?”

    because it has been a very long time since non-military Whites bombed anything, in contrast to non-military arabs.

  • Anonymous

    The Saudis and other oil and gas rich GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council countries) have no choice. If these hordes of South Asian, sub-Saharan African and central Asian and south-east Asian “expatriate workers” stay too long…..they will become Permanent residents.

  • noneknown

    @ # 1: A conspiracy theorist might conclude from all the circumstantial evidence that there is an attempt, successful so far, to rid the world of Whites!!

    After all, we all know that the “ice people” are the source of all the evil in the world, and to rid the world of them (currently only about 7% of the population of the world) would be a great benefit to… whom???.

    Answer that question, and you win the prize!!

  • rjf101

    I guess the Saudis are doing somethign right.

    The expatriate issue is even greater in the United Arab Emirates, where only 15% of the people are native Emiratis, and only 5% of the largest city, Dubai, is Emirati.

  • Courtney from Alabama

    As a side note, I hope everyone on here realizes that it was white people who designed the magnificent architecture of Dubai, and I believe that perhaps maybe 1 or 2 Japanese or Koreans were involved as well. While the arabs have every right to want to keep their society arab, this constant garbage that the media spits out to us about how “these arab countries are more advanced in some ways than Western countries”, using Dubai as an example, is pure rubbish. As for the magnificent architecture in Malaysia…….same thing…designed by people from higher latitudes to put it politely.

    You might ask why this magnificent architecture isn’t seen more in a lot of Western countries then. My take on it is that , based on what I read about Dubai’s history, the arabs in the region quickly wanted to build their society up through a tourism industry (on top of the oil) , by drawing attention to themselves by putting up “over the top” and “eye popping, out of this world” structures. In my opinion, a lot of it is gawdy and quite typical of Third World irrational greed: putting so much money into giant odd shaped hotels while most of the society has poor living standards.

    I read somewhere not too long ago that there was this enormous aquarium that was built there (perhaps the largest in the world), but unfortunately, one of the large tanks developed a crack in it and gallons of water started rushing out onto the floor while there were tourists walking around. It may have been one of the shark tanks but I can’t remember. The story is quite sad and depressing, but also humorous in it’s own way.

  • Ciccio

    Poster #6, you do not seem to understand the immigration system of the Arab world. You can be an expatriate there for 60 years, you will still be an expatriate liable for instant expulsion the minute you lose your job. Your children can be born and live their entire life there, they will always be considered foreigners, they will have neither health care nor education.

  • Anonymous

    Ciccio I do understand the system there. Its is due to change soon as the United Nations are pressuring the GCC to grant Residence to their guest workers. http://goo.gl/ZzmfS That is why they need to drastically reduce the numbers or risk untold millions becoming permanent residents.

  • ATBOTL

    The guest worker program that Saudi Arabia has is not like any guest worker program or immigration in Western countries. It’s set up so that the guest workers and their children cannot in any way become citizens or permanent residents, no matter what.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t guests normally invited in, rather than pushing their way into your home?

  • Anonymous

    Middle easterns have a strong disdain for physical labor, which is typical of societies that have or recently held slaves. These guest workers are little more than salaried slaves and without them the desert would soon reclaim the chaos darkie nations.