Proposed expat worker fee slated by Saudi Shoura Council

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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After Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour announced a plan to fine companies who hire a high number of overseas workers, the Gulf state’s legislative Shoura Council has come out against the initiative.

The proposal by the Labour Ministry involves businesses which employ more than the stated number of overseas employees permitted by the Saudization quota being fined US$640 for each extra foreign worker. The scheme was due to begin on the first day of the Islamic New Year.

However, the Shoura Council, responsible for proposing and drafting of new legislation for presentation to the Saudi King for approval, has strongly criticised the plan for its negative impact on business. The Saudi Gazette quoted a Shoura member, Ahmed al Dhaylai, as stating that it will in no way help to solve the problem of Saudization.

Al Dhaylai added that the scheme, as with many of the Labour Ministry’s demands, will certainly cause problems in the kingdom for which its citizens will have to pay. The proposal is aimed at private companies employing more staff from overseas than Saudis, and is likely to cause the closure of a large number of companies offering public services.

A statement from the Ministry of Labour said the plan was to increase the competitive edge of local workers as against cheaper migrant labour in an attempt to lower the Saudi unemployment rate, at present standing at 10.5 per cent. Official estimates state that nine out of every ten blue-collar employees of private firms are migrants from southeast or south Asia.
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