Saudi will need expats 'for at least 40 years'

Head of kingdom's vocational training agency says it would take four decades to replace expat workers

It would take Saudi Arabia 40 years to train its nationals to replace expatriate workers, the head of the country’s vocational training organisation has said, according to Saudi Gazette.

The government’s Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) is looking to engage 25 world-class training institutes to train 250,000 Saudis in a move towards making the country self-sufficient.

There are about 8m expat workers in the kingdom. Many are in menial jobs such as a housemaid, but a significant proportion are in highly-skilled areas such as oil and gas.

TVTC governor Ali Bin Nasser Al-Ghafis said it would take four decades to train enough Saudis to fill the country’s labour requirements.

“It will take Saudi skilled and technical workforce 40 years to take up their position,” he told Saudi Gazette.

Al-Ghafis said tenders had been received from about 50 universities and institutions for the TVTC programme, with training expected to start in September.

The kingdom is working to reduce the number of expats, including forcing companies to hire at least one Saudi in a program known as the Nitaqat.

Introduced in 2011, the system involves rewards and punishments for the country’s 800,000 registered private companies, depending on how well they meet quotas for the number of Saudis on their payroll.

Companies fulfilling their quotas are listed in the green zone, receiving privileges such as expedited visas for foreign workers and the right to hire expatriates working for other companies without first getting approval.

Firms that fall short of their quotas but are considered to be making efforts to reach them are in the yellow zone and face some restrictions on access to foreign labour.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: jason

40 years thats a bit of an overstretch. Considering that an apprentice to be red sealed certified only requires 5 to 6 years of training and education combined. Also some of the positions that will be replaced does not need so many years to be able to do. The only reason i'll agree with the 40 years part is because it takes a very long time for anything to get completed in ksa, ie. the morgtrage law

Posted by: Anon

More like 400 years!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

New research sheds light on the overwhelming influence of the...

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Legal firm DLA Piper’s Middle East business recorded 10 percent...

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

Clerics and many citizens still consider it all very sinful,...

Most Discussed