Saudi government contractors now reluctant to sponsor expats

Published:  24 Jul at 6 PM
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Many Saudi companies contracting their services to the government are unhappy about continuing sponsorship for expat workers, preferring to employ local staff.

Reports are coming in that increasing numbers of expat employees are not having their contracts renewed due to company concerns over Nitaqat quotas. Firms with short-term government contracts are especially reluctant to hire expats over the longer-term.

According to Hussain al Qahtani, spokesperson for the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, a number of companies on short-term contracts with the organisation are now not transferring new expat workers’ sponsorships. Most contracted firms, he stated, are now looking for Saudi nationals to work with government projects.

Sudanese national Kamel Mahmoud, a Jeddah resident, told local media that he’d been offered work as a public relations expert with a firm holding a government contract. However, he added, it’s been eight months since I first tried to transfer my sponsorship to my new employer, and now I believe it will never happen.

Both companies and their employees face fines if work statuses are not legalised, although some companies are evading the law by continuing to hire short-term expat staff without sponsorship. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Labour recently stated that inspectors form the ministry are checking contracting companies to make sure their expat workers were legally sponsored.
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