Pay Kingdom-born expats the same salaries as Saudis

The Ministry of Interior’s Civil Status Agency should make its citizenship requirements less difficult for those expatriates who were born in the Kingdom. Unfortunately, this has not happened. These expatriates have been living here for years and years and some of them have never been to their home countries and do not even know anything about them. When you speak to many of these expatriates you would never know that you were talking to a non-Saudi because they speak our dialect perfectly. Many of these expatriates deserve to be naturalized because they would be of great benefit to the country.

If it is not possible to naturalize expatriates who were born here, then they should at least be paid decent monthly salaries, salaries which are fair. I am talking about those expats who work in the private sector and get paid low salaries every month. Most employers do not treat them fairly and some treat them as if they had been recruited from outside the country and had not been born here. We should treat them the way we treat our own citizens.

I have heard several stories about some of these Kingdom-born expats who are paid low salaries. One of them is a young man who was born here and has never been to his home country. He knows the streets of Jeddah like the back of his hand but knows nothing about his own country. He currently works for a factory in Jeddah. Most of the time he works 12 hours a day and his monthly salary is a meager SR1,800. What is worse, the factory is far from his home and he has to drive to get there.

If a Saudi man were employed in this job, most likely he would not complete a full day before he quit. But this young expat does not have any choice but to put up with the hard work and low salary.

I recently wrote about the huge salaries paid to some expatriates who are recruited from outside the country, but now I am drawing attention to the meager salaries paid to Kingdom-born expatriates, who should be given the same salaries that citizens get. I further suggest that some of these expatriates should be given special identification cards so that they can be treated differently because they have deeper citizenship values and loyalty to this country.

Talal Al-Qashqari

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