Forced retirement at 60 for Saudi Arabia expat workers

Published:  5 Mar at 6 PM
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The recently announced move to force Saudi Arabia’s expatriate employees to retire at the age of 60 us set to cause as much controversy in the kingdom as the expat tax.

Following on an announcement that the controversial Saudi Arabia expat worker levy is here to stay, the latest plan by the Ministry of Labour is likely to cause at least as much disagreement and disquiet. Many agree with the standardising of the retirement age with that of Saudi workers, while others believe the expatriate retirement age should be set even lower.

Some are suggesting a minimum age for expat workers as they will have gained expertise in their fields. Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Human Resources committee Sameer Hussain considers the move fair, adding that retirement age equality between expatriates and Saudis is the best practice.

Hussain states that, if an extension of two years is made for a valuable expatriate employee, the worker should train up his Saudi counterparts to a high level of expertise in return. In addition, Hussain claims that the financial levy on expat workers should be set at a higher level than at present.

Most Saudis who have commented on the plan state that it is an essential part of the process of Saudization recently introduced in the kingdom. Some go as far as to demand the expatriate retirement age be set as low as 50, stating that Saudi youth should be trained to replace expatriate workers in all sectors.

Ihab Abu Rakbah of the Human Resources Commitee also believes that Saudis should not be forced to take inferior jobs, adding that high-salaried positions should be given to Saudi nationals. He slated Saudi universities for their inability to produce graduates qualified for top positions, and hit out at the system’s lack of adequate career guidance.
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