1.58 million expats correct status

Updated 28 June 2013
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1.58 million expats correct status

More than 1.58 million expats in the Kingdom have changed their residence and work status during the amnesty since April, the Labor Ministry said while disclosing plans to Saudize 600,000 jobs in the retail trade sector.
“A total of 1,581,227 have benefited from the correction process during the past eight weeks,” the ministry said, adding 926,330 among them received new work permits.
A total 329,468 workers have transferred their sponsorships to new employers and they represent 21 percent of the total beneficiaries, the ministry said. Twenty-one percent of beneficiaries changed their professions while 59 percent had their work permits renewed.
Deputy Labor Minister Ahmed Al-Humaidan, meanwhile, said jobs in the retail sector, which has an annual turnover of SR 200 billion, would be Saudized gradually, as about 80 percent of its jobs are held by foreigners.
Sibi George, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, said more than 40,000 Indians have corrected their status.
Speaking to Arab News, he said about 40,000 Indians have got jobs with different companies as a result of efforts made by the Indian Embassy and consulates. Some Indians, who have got emergency certificates to leave the Kingdom, have expressed their desire to make use of the job fairs organized by the embassy and consulates, he added.
In the Riyadh region, 112,200 foreigners or 34 percent of the total beneficiaries transfered their sponsorships, the ministry said. The Makkah region came second with 78,434 or 24 percent changing their sponsorships, followed by Eastern Province (66,627 or 20 percent), Madinah 16,142 or five percent and Qassim 15,836 and Asir 9,355.
About 141,000 workers have changed their professions, with 42,432 or 30 percent of them doing it last week. Twenty-four percent changed their profession to labor, 19 to marketing, 13 to driver and 9 to sales representative.
The largest number of transfers took place to companies specialized in building and construction (51 percent), benefiting 155,038 workers, followed by wholesale and retail trade (22 percent) benefiting 66,598.
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, said Nitaqat was instrumental in reducing unemployment among the Saudis from 12 percent to 6.1 percent. “Saudis who got jobs after introducing Nitaqat were equal to 38 percent of citizens employed in the past 30 years,” he pointed out.


Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena getting ready to driver her car as Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving iib Saturday midnight. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

  • The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
  • Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

JEDDAH:  Women around the Kingdom have turned the ignition in their cars for the first time on their home soil and hit the roads throughout the country. They have gone on social media to express their joy at this monumental occasion which has officially changed the course of their lives. 

Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena was among the very first women to drive in the Kingdom as soon as the clock struck midnight. 

Women in their cars enthusiastically and wholeheartedly cheered on their fellow female drivers on this memorable night. 

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated, said Almaeena.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urges all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.”

Almaeena highlighted the significance of being a defensive driver. “I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”

On how society is adapting to this major change, Almaeena said: “Tomorrow is the first day, mentally and psychologically it already had that shift. As I mentioned, it’s a paradigm shift. In perception and how they view women, their capabilities — as equal partners. 

“Mentally it’s already there, and physically we will see — as we start — more and more encouragement for both men and women. Even some of the women who weren’t feeling comfortable about driving, it’s going to be encouraging for them, in a live demonstration and evidence that women can do it.” 

As roads around Saudi Arabia have been inhabited by a new breed of drivers, how has this affected the traffic flow in Saudi Arabia?

 “As of 12 a.m., the implementation of the Supreme Court order to enable women to drive and the implementation of traffic regulations to both men and women is officially in effect," said Col. Sami Al-Shwairkh, the official spokesman for General Security in the Kingdom. "The security and traffic status on all roads and areas around the Kingdom have been reported as normal. There have not been any records from our monitoring of any unusual occurrences on the road throughout the Kingdom.” 

To commemorate this occasion, as seen in the pictures circulating on social media, traffic policemen were handing roses to female drivers early on Sunday.

The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.

Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force.