Expats seek fair work contracts



JEDDAH: DIANA AL-JASSEM | ARAB NEWS STAFF

Published — Thursday 20 December 2012

Last update 20 December 2012 12:29 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Expatriates are calling for fair contracts that specifies a minimum wage and payment of iqama renewal fees, insurance premium and a foreign labor fee recently imposed by the Ministry of Labor by the employer.
The labor ministry decision to impose the fee of SR 2,400 on expat workers have forced them to look for better contracts. Some expatriates who have contracts that do not include iqama renewal and insurance fees will not be able to pay the new foreign labor fee.
A report issued by the IFC, World Bank and Price Waterhouse Coopers says Saudi Arabia has the world’s third least demanding tax framework for corporations.
After studying 185 world economies, the report said companies in the MENA region pay a total average tax of 23.6 percent, compared to a global average of 44.7 percent.
Corporations in the GCC make 17.6 payments per year and spend on average 158 hours dealing with regulations. Other GCC nations that ranked high include Bahrain at No. 7, Oman at 10 and Kuwait at 11.
Mohammed Rahman, a Pakistani accountant at a private company in Jeddah said: “All countries worldwide are suffering from inflation, while the salaries of residents and expatriate workers are decreasing. In Saudi Arabia, most private sector employees, especially expats, are still earning below-average salaries. The new Labor Ministry foreign labor fee of SR 2,400 is not covered in my work contract. I am wondering who will pay these taxes? Do I have to pay or does my company pay?”
Rahman said the widening gap between the Labor Ministry and private companies should be eliminated or expatriate workers will become the victims.
“We have already complained about our low salaries and the fact there is no minimum wage for expatriates. Prices are rising on a monthly basis. We have to pay for rent, school fees, health care and now this new fee. My contract with the company doesn’t cover iqama renewal or taxes,” he said.
Kitta Agusalim, a nurse in a private clinic in Jeddah, said the expats who came to Saudi Arabia years ago when there was no inflation, are being paid much lower salaries.
“The pressure on expatriate workers can be attributed to the Saudization plan. We notice there has been no increase in our salaries since we came to Saudi Arabia 10 years ago, but there is a huge increase in insurance fees and iqama renewal fees. The fee to renew an iqama increased in the last year and is now about SR 2,000. Now I will be asked to pay fees in addition to increased insurance and iqama fees, which accounts for about SR 80 of my monthly salary,” she said.
Emad Swalmeh, a Jordanian employee at a pharmaceutical company in Jeddah, said Saudi Arabia must implement labor regulations that are accepted worldwide.
“Saudi Arabia is a member country of the International Labor Organization which is responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labor standards. Therefore it must implement these standards. The labor market in Saudi Arabia is not well regulated in the area of pay and working hours. So many expatriate workers are exploited by low pay and high fees that are not covered by work contracts,” he said.
He blames private sector companies for taking advantage of the absence of an authority to regulate and oversee expatriate worker contracts.
“The government must bridge the wage gap between Saudis and expatriates for fairness and the success of Saudization. They should establish an authority to ensure fairness in all expatriate contracts. Fees levied on expatriates must be based on labor market forces and not on the Saudization plan,” he said.
“There is no doubt that expatriates are affected by inflation in the Kingdom. Expats are sometimes obligated to pay high fees for schools and rent. The increasing government fees are imposed to encourage them to leave the country. Most expats will be unable to pay any of these fees,” he added.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: In a fresh boost for relations between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, the Kingdom has decided to sign a memorandum of understanding on Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) with Dhaka. The Kingdom endorsed a proposal in this regard at a meeting be...
The Indonesian mission is hopeful detained Indonesian pilgrims will be free “very soon.” The mission is trying to persuade Saudi authorities of their nationals’ innocence.Eleven Indonesian pilgrims, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah to perform U...
JEDDAH: Police at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh arrested a Saudi hacker after a government organization in Al-Leith in Makkah complained that he had hacked its website, according to an online newspaper.Col. Atti Al-Qurashi, spokesman fo...
JEDDAH: The special criminal court has sentenced a former military official to nine years in jail for joining Daesh and traveling to Syria to fight.A fine of SR5,000 was also slapped on him and he was barred from traveling abroad for nine years after...
JEDDAH: Saudi-Indian ties have reached a new high with the arrival of an Indian Air Force (IAF) flying contingent at the King Fahd Air Base in Taif.The mission, comprising more than 100 high-ranking IAF officers and airmen onboard Sukhoi MKI fighter...
RIYADH: A tripartite agreement among the National Handicraft Program, Prisons Department and the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. (TVTC) was recently signed in the presence of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tou...
JEDDAH: British authorities have opened investigations into the plane crash that led to the death of three members of the Binladin family.Investigations depend on the black box which registers the entire plane’s data, including speed, position of mob...
JAZAN: In a tragic accident, a speeding fuel truck caused four deaths and injuries to many people when it collided head on with five cars on the northern entrance of Abu Areesh area of Jazan, according to a website.The truck deviated from its path an...
JEDDAH: Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh has directed all the municipal authorities to closely scrutinize the election candidates’ credentials to thwart violation of rules.This is to ensure that the candidates meet all the...
Mohammed Mokammel Hossain, labor consul, Bangladesh Consulate, Jeddah * Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.* Can you tell us your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Insha’Allah. * W...
RIYADH: Expatriates feel Saudi Arabia is a safer place than their home countries despite the fact that the Kingdom is leading a war against the Yemeni rebels and other terror organizations and a couple of suicide attacks in the recent past. Mahmoud T...
RIYADH: The maximum medical policy or contract for visitors is SR100,000, which covers expenses on emergency treatment, maternity charges, traffic accident injuries, dialysis and medical treatment in or outside the Kingdom. Making the above announce...
JEDDAH: The city and its surrounding areas sweltered on Monday, with the maximum temperature rising to 44 degree Celsius and relative humidity being recorded at 85 percent. The weather department has forecast a similar situation in Jeddah on Tuesday....
JEDDAH: A National Academy for Energy in Dammam and a private technical technical college, both exclusively for women, will be opened in the Easter Province.The General Organization of Technical and Vocational Training is in the process of implementi...
AL-AHSA: Masjid Joatha or Joatha Mosque is a center of attraction in Al-Ahsa with many visitors and tourists thronging the place of worship, which was believed to have been built in the seventh year of Hijri (629 AD).The mosque has been restored as p...

Stay Connected

Facebook