The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Labour has sought to pacify the outrage of expats by insisting their jobs are not in any danger following the announcement of the new measures to get more Saudi natives into employment.
Last week the Saudi labour minister announced that expats are to have their time allowed in the country cut off at six years, and that a new ‘zone’ system will be introduced to increase the amount of Saudi national in certain positions.
Finding roles for more Saudis is the main objective, and expat workers were praised by the Ministry and reassured that they are still a vital part of the Saudi landscape: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invests intensively in mega development projects that increase the demand for manpower. It is noteworthy that the ministry issued work visas to over two million expatriate workers during last year.”
The zone system will place companies into different ‘colour zones’ depending on how many Saudi nationals they employ, red, yellow and green.
Companies in the red zone will be deprived of privileges and they will not be able to renew the expired visas of their expatriate workers. Companies in the yellow zone will only be able to renew the visas of the expat they employ who have worked there for less than six years.
However, the ministry was quick to add that this only means that expats will be free to move onto companies in the green zone without needing permission from their existing employer, essentially giving them a greater degree of freedom.
The ministry also added that expats who assist their companies in finding more Saudi workers will be rewarded.