Nearly 10,000 Saudi Expats to Lose their Jobs

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Nearly 10,000 Saudi Expats to Lose their Jobs

For almost 10,000 expats living and working in Saudi Arabia, the New Year is getting off to a pretty awful start.

According to Abdul Rahman Al-Barrak (Minister of Civil Services) the Saudi Arabian government’s drive to boost local employment has led to the refusal to renew 9,267 public sector employment contracts belonging to expat employees.

Over 2,600 new expat applications were also refused.

The Civil Services Minister asserted that all the positions held by expats will remain vacant until qualified Saudi citizens are able to fill them.

Only if no suitably qualified Saudi’s are found will Expat residents be considered for the roles.

From 2011-2012 Saudi Arabia was able to drive the unemployment rate from 12.4 to 11.8 thanks to the Nitaqat initiative, a compulsory quota system, and the government’s efforts to get local residents into work appear to be stepping up a gear.

Al-Barrak was quoted as saying; ‘We will focus on replacing foreign contract workers with Saudis. We’re coordinating with all academic institutions to see to it that all graduates meet the needs of the current labour market and that all institutions offer specialisations held by expatriates.’

This new ruling follows a recent royal decree which demanded that public sector departments from across the UAE formulate a plan for driving local employment. So far 79 departments have submitted five-year ‘Saudisation’ plans.

The plans are currently being studied so that the types of jobs held by expat employees are specified.

So if you’ve had your heart set on relocating to Saudi Arabia or were hoping to find job security in the region you may wish to reconsider your expatriation plans.

In order to ensure that Saudi Arabians have the qualifications necessary to take possession of positions currently being held by expatriates, experts are pushing for Saudi youths to receive better skilled training.

As ICAEW’s Middle East Regional Director, Peter Beynon, recently observed, ‘To compete in skills-intensive industries such as engineering, chemical processing or financial services, economies require access to a skilled workforce. This means people with respected qualifications, either from high quality universities or internationally recognised professional qualifications’.

As it stands, Saudi education is a cause for concern and could prevent the government’s Saudisation seeing further success in the years ahead.

Beynon noted; ‘Only 41 per cent of Saudi Arabian youth currently go to college or university [...] this means a significant number of Saudis are entering the workforce at a disadvantage if measured internationally.’

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