The authorities in Saudi Arabia have again reaffirmed the place of expat workers following growing unrest in the aftermath of the ‘Nitaqat’ announcement.
The Nitaqat initiative has been put into place with an aim of creating 400,000 new jobs for native Saudi Arabians. There is a growing air of unease amongst native Saudis due to the rising levels of unemployment in the country. Many Saudis feel that too many expat workers are holding them back and also blurring the national identity.
To combat this, the Saudi Arabian government launched Nitaqat, a system where private sector establishments fall into one of four categories depending on how many Saudi Arabian nationals they employ.
If a company is found to be in one of the lower level categories, yellow and red, then they will be forced to reduce their numbers of expat workers. This then led to panic in the expat community as workers feared their jobs could be on the line.
To alleviate these fears, Abdullah al Hakkan from the Saudi Arabia Labour Ministry has issued a statement: “We are not saying foreign workers who are given six years must leave the Kingdom, they will have three options. They could either leave the Kingdom or move to another company in the excellent or the green classification a third option is that they can stay with their company for a longer period if it adjusts itself to the new job rules,” he said.