Saudi labour crackdown hits construction projects

More than a third of construction projects in Saudi Arabia have been cancelled following a recent crackdown on overseas workers in the kingdom, it was reported.

Of the 250,000 construction contracts that were ongoing before the start of a grace period for illegal foreign labourers to rectify their visa status, 90,000 have since been scrapped, reported Arab News, citing the National Committee in Saudi Chambers (NCSC).

The kingdom announced the amnesty, which ends in November, as part of its push to weed out illegal workers as it tackles high unemployment among locals. It is estimated there are about 12m expats in the kingdom, of which about 4m have corrected their status. It is not clear how many labourers have left the country during the amnesty, although it is thought to be more than 1m.

More than 575,000 visa corrections had been carried out by the construction sector, 220,172 by the trade sector, at least 60,000 in the food sector, 60,100 in downstream industries and 55,100 in the workshops and maintenance sector.

A total of 42,836 workers transferred their registered jobs to the contracting, cleaning and maintenance sector, 26,566 to individual sponsors, 24,506 to the transport sector, 19,659 to the social services sector and 15,675 to the agricultural and fishing sector.

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