Saudi may introduce eight year limit for expat professionals

Published:  7 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia
The Saudi Arabian government is mulling a plan to restrict expat professionals to eight years’ employment and prevent their families from accompanying them.

The new scheme now under consideration forms part of the kingdom’s controversial Saudization plan originally intended to boost employment amongst Saudi nationals.
However, if it’s implemented it may have unforeseen consequences, as few Western professionals would be prepared to work long-term in the kingdom without their families.

The proposal was recently launched on the Saudi Labour Ministry’s website in order to solicit public opinion as to its workability as part of Saudization. The exclusion of expat workers’ families is to be achieved using a points system, and is also intended to make life more difficult for businesses employing expat talent.

The points system will be based on salaries received as well as family members, with, for example, a wage of $1,066 per month given one point, a non-working wife scoring half a point and children a quarter of a point. Points will form part of the employer’s strict quota for the employment of Saudi nationals and, it’s hoped, will encourage businesses to hire only low-waged foreigners or Saudi workers.

The Arab News newspaper reports that both Saudis and expats are opposing the plan, as they feel foreign professionals would be discouraged from working in the kingdom, thus negatively affecting businesses and the economy. A recent survey indicated that expat professionals work in the kingdom for just under seven years before leaving.
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