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Fri 5 Aug 2011 10:42 AM

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Senior Saudi official calls for cut in expat workers

Shoura Council member says minimum wage needed for Saudis working in private sector

Senior Saudi official calls for cut in expat workers
A Shoura Council member says a minimum wage is needed for Saudis working in private sector

A senior Saudi Arabian official has called for measures to be taken to cut the number of expat workers in the kingdom.

Shoura Council member Major General Muhammad Abusaq also said a national committee should be set up to combat unemployment in the country.

“The number of foreign workers should be brought down to a reasonable level so that they do not pose any danger to national security,” Abusaq said in comments published by Saudi daily Arab News on Friday.

He cited the lack of a minimum salary as one of the reasons for growing unemployment among Saudis as expatriates offer their services to private companies for lower wages.

“The lack of a suitable working atmosphere is another problem facing Saudi jobseekers. We also lack systems that ensure job security for Saudis,” the paper quoted him as saying in a local Arabic newspaper.

The Shoura member proposed adding a new article to the Labour Law in order to establish a national committee to combat unemployment and improve the qualifications and efficiency of Saudi workers.

He also called for a minimum salary for Saudi workers in private companies as a measure to fight unemployment.

Last month it was reported that thousands of expats in Saudi Arabia were set to clear their bank accounts ahead of upcoming visa renewals amid fears new curbs on foreign labour will unleash a wave of job cuts.

Foreign workers, whose bank accounts are frozen during visa renewals, fear rules aimed at forcing private sector firms to increase their quota of Saudi employees will leave them unemployed, unable to access their cash, and struggling to find a new job.

Companies in the world’s top oil exporter have until November 26 to achieve a set quota of Saudi employees, or face tough penalties including a ban on renewing visas for foreign workers.

Firms will be graded as red, yellow and green. Expat employees of ‘red’ companies will not have their visas renewed at all, while ‘green’ companies will net a host of benefits, including fast-track visas for foreign workers.

Expats within red firms whose visas are not renewed will need to secure a post within a green company in order to stay in the kingdom – but are likely to face fierce competition for the role.

disturbed of dubai 8 years ago

look forward to a return of the good old days when attempts made to force Saudi's to work in private sector and enforce minimum wage. Mainly rejected by private sector bosses who surprisingly enough are mainly Saudi's...

procan 8 years ago

Saudi"s should take back their county before they are overrun - and it will be; just look at the western countries.

Saudi Ex-pat 8 years ago

This is all very well but are Saudi's willing to do the jobs that the large proportion of ex-pats do - i.e the manual labour ?
At the other end of the scale where is the skill levels and experience going to suddenly come from to replace the senior management that they propose to replace, you cant teach experience.
A minimum wage across the board for all workers would be welcome but highly unlikely to happen as the rates for the manual workers are not going to attract Saudi's into the job and Employers are unlikely to pay more when they have access to a cheap labour pool. The rest of the world experiences a free market in labour where people can come and go as they please, here you are tied to one company.
Get Saudi's to work is a great idea but in practise will not work - they are used to state handouts or government jobs which leaves private sector.