Saudisation may harm construction sector
New labor laws have forced nearly 50 percent of the laborers to quit the construction sector altogether, according to local experts. Most of the laborers are craftsmen.
Experts attribute the exodus to irregularities in the visas issued by the contracting companies for the workers. This has forced them to go in for the corrective measures announced through the amnesty granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. Some workers have chosen to leave the Kingdom, while others have sought to find jobs that match the professions listed on their residence permits. Many have chosen to desert construction sites, fearing raids.
Developer Muhammad bin Ramzi, said that both public and private housing projects will be affected by the exodus of laborers.
“Construction business is the main pillar of urban renaissance,” said Bin Ramzi, noting that small contracting firms will shut down, as most of them mainly depend on illegal labor.
Mishaal Al-Otaibi, another developer, agrees, adding that the cost of construction work will increase dramatically.
“Prior to the new labor laws, the contracting sector was an open market,” said Ahmad Al-Obaikan, head of real estate and contractors committee at the Taif Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He confirmed that a majority of workers in the contracting sector have left during the ongoing grace period.
“The time-frame for the amnesty is not sufficient for workers to correct their status in view of the congestion and long processing time at the Passport Departments across the Kingdom,” he said.
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