Saudization costs hundreds of expat heathcare specialists their jobs

Published:  1 Nov at 6 PM
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According to the Saudi Gazette, 478 long-term expat medical professionals have been refused extensions to their contracts as a result of the kingdom’s Saudization policy.

After requesting contract renewals for over 500 medical professionals, managers at Riyadh’s King Saud University Hospital have been told only 31 doctors and seven consultants would be allowed to stay. The remaining 478 heathcare specialists will, according to the Saudi Ministry of Civil Service, all be replaced by suitably qualified and experienced Saudi nationals.

The medical professionals concerned had all come to the end of their 10-year contracts and were expecting to have them renewed when the axe fell. Reports state Saudi administrators had received complaints from local postgraduate medical students that they could not find jobs due to reliance by hospitals on expat professionals.

The lay-offs are believed to be yet another manifestation of the kingdom’s Saudization drive, at present accelerating after a recent announcement that expat staff over the age of 60 would be counted as two expat employees in companies’ expat quotas. However, the announcement noted investors, doctors and academics would be excluded from the effects of the new rule.

The closing down to expats of Saudi’s labour market is already being felt in private sector firms and is a six-part strategy aimed at a goal of only recruiting expat talent for various business sectors. Saudization was brought in to reduce the kingdom’s unemployment rate, although in reality expats were badly needed as locals lacked the necessary skills, qualifications and relevant experience in many specialist sectors including healthcare.
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