No 'grace' left: desperate to make the most out of their numbered days in Saudi, expats offer services at low rates
With less than a week left to the end of the legalization period that was extended for a further three months in July, foreign laborers in professions such as construction and building are still roaming side streets throughout the Kingdom’s cities, offering services for half the price they usually charge.
Other workers managing baqalas (corner shops) are struggling to sell whatever is left of their merchandise at cheap prices before the grace period ends.
Both workers and salesmen are trying to make as much money as they can before they leave the Kingdom.
One citizen, Ahmad Al-Ajami, said he noticed that street workers have reduced their prices. “A plumber agreed to charge me SR150 to undertake repair work at my house even though it usually costs me SR300,” he said.
“He even requested transferring his sponsorship under my name with guarantees of generating profits of more than SR3,000 a month. He also asked me to help him find a sponsor, saying he would pay for expenses,” he added.
Ali Ibrahim, a Yemeni worker who was in violation of residency and labor regulations, said that he has been working independently for three years, selling fruit and vegetables by the side of Riyadh’s main roads, earning on average SR4,000 a month. “The price of vegetables has increased but I am trying to get rid of what I have before the end of the grace period,” he said.