No decision yet on limiting expats’ stay


No decision has been taken to restrict the stay of expatriate workers in the Kingdom on the basis of either the period they spent in Saudi Arabia or the salaries they drew, the Labor Ministry announced on Sunday.

“It was just a proposal floated on the ministry’s website ‘Maan Nuhsin’ (Together We Improve) for a debate,” said Deputy Labor Minister Ahmed Al-Humaidan, denying press reports that it has already taken a decision on the issue.

The proposal had recommended limiting the stay of expat workers in the Kingdom to eight years and discouraging them from bringing their families.

“We have presently closed the discussion on the proposal but will float it again after making necessary amendments based on the views and opinions of our partners,” Al-Humaidan said.

Speaking to Arab News, Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives, commended the ministry for taking the views of businessmen, officials and workers before enacting new regulations.

“I hope all ministries would follow this good example,” Badawood said. He also praised the ministry for responding quickly to end rumors. “Some government departments do not make any clarification on wrong reports and leave the matter to people’s assumptions.”

He said the ministry’s decision to revise the proposal based on expert views strengthens its credibility. “The new proposal will help organize the labor market,” he said. However, he pointed out that businesses should be allowed to recruit experienced workers again after completing the 8-year period.

The new proposal should also give a special status to expatriates who are born and brought up in the Kingdom so that businesses would recruit them instead of bringing workers from foreign countries, he said.


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