Nitaqat Saudization to hit older expat doctors, academic and investors

Published:  11 Oct at 6 PM
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New Saudi Arabia laws relating to older expat professionals in certain specialities are likely to affect foreign workers in critical positions.

The recently approved Mawzoon (balanced) Nitaqat system is due to become law in early December, and is slated to end specialist expatriate dominance in critical jobs. It’s aimed at bringing down Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate amongst nationals.

Worst hit will be expert professionals from overseas who are registered as investors, academicians, lecturers, professors or medical specialists including technicians and pharmacists as well as surgeons and doctors. All those over the age of 60 years will no longer be considered as two staff. It’s not yet clear how the expertise represented by the group will be replaced from home-grown sources.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s proposed law on compulsory heathcare insurance for expats has been approved, with foreigners to be banned from using the emirate’s free public hospitals and clinics. The new law will come into effect within two years, with foreigners working in the private sector to be treated in the expat-only hospitals expected to be up and running by 2018.

The ruling means health insurance costs for foreigners will increase to at least three times their present levels, and right now it’s not clear whether policies will be offered by a single, compulsory insurer or whether there will be a choice of providers. Three 700-bed private facilities are at present under construction, and are expected to provide integrated medical services for overseas workers in the emirate.

Kuwait’s expat community is up in arms about yet another development seen to be discriminatory, that of offering 750 free litres of gasoline to Kuwaiti nationals only. Even enlightened Kuwaitis are stating they are ashamed at the decision, calling it segregation between locals and expats who’ve been giving of their expertise to help the country for decades.

No exact date for the emirate’s charitable donation to its citizens has yet been given, nor is there any indication as to how distribution will be set up and monitored. Some believe it’s a sop to protestors following last month’s increase in gasoline prices, and others are worried about the effects on the emirate’s human rights image overseas.
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