Saudi move to limit expat stay criticised
Riyadh, January 23, 2014
A new proposal by Saudi Arabia's Labor Ministry to restrict the stay of foreign workers to seven years has been opposed by businessmen and economists, a report said.
Such a step will be counterproductive and push 70 percent of private companies into the red category of the Nitaqat nationalization scheme, they were quoted as saying by the Arab News report.
The proposal also aims to discourage expat workers from bringing their families to the Kingdom.
The government should consider the private sector’s views and suggestions in this regard, said Abdul Rahman Al-Rabeeah, president of the Saudi-Indian Business Council, in the report.
Some of the ministry’s proposals must be reconsidered because of their economic, social, security and international implications, said representatives from the Consultant Offices Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).
Muhammad Al-Dardiri, vice-president of the committee, said it was in the process of discussing the draft proposals with the business sector.
Participants in the discussions of the draft proposals believe it would have serious repercussions on the business sector, the report said.
An expat worker living in the kingdom with his wife and two children will be considered as two foreign workers under the proposed system. An expat receiving a salary of SR6,000 and more will be equivalent to 1.5 points in the new system, but professionals whose degrees have been attested by Saudi authorities will be exempted from the salary rule, the report said.
Experts also said the proposal would increase the volume of remittances made by expats as their expenses will be reduced, the report said.