How the tables have turned: Saudi seeking help from this MENA country on labor issues
Saudi Arabia deported most of its construction sector workers under its Saudization policies (File Archive)
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Saudi contractors have begun utilizing the services of their Egyptian counterparts to overcome worker shortages, Makkah daily reported.
A meeting between the Saudi national contractors committee and the Egyptian union for contractors was held in Riyadh to discuss the issue. The Egyptian side said it would offer its services if a proper mechanism was implemented to obtain visas.
The Saudi side said contractors are suffering from the conditions set up by the Ministry of Labor that do not allow them to recruit workers until the construction site is handed over to them. "Many Saudi contractors are utilizing Egyptian expertise in technical work that do not require their presence at the site, especially as their services are reasonably priced," a statement from the committee said.
The two sides reviewed many obstacles that face foreign investors, such as banks that do not provide guarantees for foreign investors.
The Egyptian side expressed concerns that contractors were subletting contracts and asked for clear regulations to ensure their rights.
The Egyptians also noted three potential obstacles posed by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority's (SAGIA) rules that are hindering foreign investment in the Kingdom.
SAGIA requires that expatriates occupy more than 25 percent of administrative jobs and that 75 percent of the workforce should be Saudi.
In addition, the authority tends to delay the processing of important paperwork, the Egyptians said.
The head of the Saudi national contractors committee, Fahad Al Hammadi, said it was the Egyptians who helped set Saudi standards over 40 years ago.
He pointed out foreign investment in the Kingdom has taken an undesirable turn where fake joint ventures between Saudi contractors and foreign companies are frequently being set up.
This has caused SAGIA to reconsider and review its regulations to combat such actions.
Al Hammadi stated that there 3,000 classified Saudi contractors.
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