Expats occupy over 10m jobs

newsimageDAMMAM — Foreign workers in the Kingdom compose a large portion of the workforce as according to well-informed sources Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Yemenis and Bengalis occupy more than 10 million jobs. There are 3 million Indians, 2.5 million Pakistanis, 2.2 million Egyptians, 1.4 million Yemenis and 1.2 Bengalis in the Kingdom, i.e. 10.3 million in total, sources said. Labor force survey results showed that the number of non-Saudi employed persons for the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 reached 10,850,192 while the total number of employed persons reached 13,889,137. The latest figures have led to renewed widespread calls by specialists to cut the number of foreigners in Saudi Arabia by getting rid of at least half of the expatriates in the Kingdom. Furthermore, they also called for restricting recruitment of expatriate workers to occupations that Saudis do not work in as well as those that need highly skilled people and there are no Saudi specialists in such fields. Authorities have taken umpteen measures to reduce dependence on expatriate workers in several fields. From time to time, they have included new domains under the Nitaqat nationalization scheme. These include disability centers, strategic partnership institutes, health colleges, female services, children’s hospitality centers, female cosmetic centers, female sewing centers, the construction sector involved in projects at the Two Holy Mosques, gas stations and the pilgrims’ transportation sector. Several newly included categories, such as photography shops and women’s sports centers, are highly dependent on a female workforce. In addition, levying of the expat fee which became effective in July this year, has forced many foreigners to pack up and go back to their countries. The government hopes that the resultant vacancies in the job market will be filled by young Saudis of both genders.