More than three million foreigners, mostly Asian, will have to leave the Saudi kingdom by 2013, while the entry of new workers will be halted altogether, under a new expatriate labor quota system adopted by Interior Ministry’s Manpower Council.
Under the new regulations, the number of foreigners residing in the kingdom will gradually be brought down to 20 percent of the indigenous Saudi population. In addition, the proportion of any singly nationality within the entire foreigner population would exceed no more than 10 percent. The ceiling system will open for review every two years.
Currently it is estimated that Saudi Arabia’s expatriate community is up to seven million strong. Residing among 17 million Saudi nationals, the foreign workers and their families constitute nearly 30 percent of the total Saudi population. The ten percent national quota is currently exceeded by natives of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Sudan, Syria and the Philippines, according to AFP.
The government is striving to tackle the nation’s unemployment problem, whose rate is presently estimated at 20 percent among Saudi males of working age and 90 percent among Saudi females. The government is promoting a ‘Saudization’ drive to create more jobs for its citizens. To ensure the employment of Saudis, private businesses are now required by law to employ a minimum of 30 percent local workers.
Earlier this month, a draft law proposing to impose a 10 percent income tax on expatriate workers whose monthly salary exceeds $800 was rejected by the Kingdom’s Shoura consultative council. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )