Saudi mulls eight-year limit for expats

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Expatriates in Saudi Arabia could be forced to leave after eight years and prevented from taking their families to the kingdom under further measures being considered to bolster employment of locals.

The Labour Ministry released the proposal on its new website, which translates to Together in English, to seek public opinion on labour policies, in particular its controversial Saudisation programme.

The new proposal includes a points system designed to discourage foreign workers from taking their family to the kingdom as well as make it less appealing for employers.

An expat receiving a salary of SR4,000 ($1,066) would be worth one point, while SR2,000 would equal half a point, SR6,000 would equal 1.5 points and SR8,000 and above would equal two points.

On top of the expat worker’s rating, his non-working wife would be worth half a point and each child worth a quarter of a point.

However, professionals with valid degrees would be exempt from the points system.

The points would be counted towards the total tally of the expat’s employer, who must meet strict quotas for employing Saudis. Therefore, employers would be more likely to hire a foreigner only on a low wage or a Saudi.

Points also would be allocated depending on how long the foreigner had been in the kingdom, with one point for up to three years and increasing by half a point annually until the maximum eight years.

Saudis and expats have opposed the proposal, according to Arab News. They suggest it would discourage foreign professionals from working in the kingdom and negatively impact on businesses.

The kingdom wants to reduce unemployment of Saudis, around 12 percent, by forcing out some expatriates.

More than 1m left the country under a seven-month amnesty on illegal workers last year.

About 8m are estimated to still be in the country, many of whom have lived in Saudi Arabia all of their life.

A recent report found expats spend an average of 6.9 years in the kingdom, while unskilled workers stayed an average of 7.7 years.

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Posted by: Caprion

It is not good, The should be for the employer to hire Saudis, but not for employee, they already left their countries, their business, jobs etc, and now they have to left the KSA, very strange for them...

Posted by: C. Norris

Here's the reality nobody talks about: under the "nitaqat" system, companies are forced to hire locals. But then they are told not to report for work as they are incapable of doing the jobs assigned to them. Result? Locals happy (money without working), lawmakers happy (hey, we kicked out some expats and hired locals), companies very unhappy (an unfair tax on them).

What a system!

Posted by: salman

I dont know why saudis are always working on restrictions. Its a very negative impact to the world that muslim country is always in the news about imposing restrictions who are living in saudi. They should follow some rules of UAE Leadership (not all rules but atleast should follow how to make a expatriate sincere and dedicated to your country).

Posted by: salman

I dont know why saudis are always working on restrictions. Its a very negative impact to the world that muslim country is always in the news about imposing restrictions who are living in saudi. They should follow some rules of UAE Leadership (not all rules but atleast should follow how to make a expatriate sincere and dedicated to your country).

Posted by: Hassan Hassan

Saudis are making a lot of fuss about expatriates to soften local community rage against the authority?s failure to create jobs for them. Instead of all these inhuman wicked designs, they can simply declare all jobs in Saudi Arabia vacant for citizens and take strict actions against any institution that does not employ Saudis.
The civilized states in the west and the east are offering big incentives to lure human brains from all over world to join their ranks, while some countries in our area are applying restrictions to drive them out. Some of these talents are assets in themselves and they should be encouraged to stay instead of spitting in their faces and hang all our negative rage against them. Human rights organizations are giving Saudi Arabia a very big downward thumb. This is not good at all in globalization era.

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