Foreign hiring threatens jobs of 2 million expats

Updated 04 July 2013
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Foreign hiring threatens jobs of 2 million expats

The jobs of 2 million trained and qualified expatriates in the Kingdom are under threat because private sector firms are still allowed to hire workers from abroad, a business expert and financial advisor told Arab News here recently.
Fadal Abu Ainain said that while these workers apply to transfer to new sponsors, firms continue to recruit other foreign workers. This prevents these workers from correcting their status and staying in the Kingdom. The Ministry of Labor is allowing this, he said.
These expatriate workers have until Nov. 3 to correct their status, the new amnesty deadline for workers announced by the Saudi government on Tuesday.
Abu Ainain said that over 200,000 workers left the Kingdom during the first three-month amnesty period that ended on July 3.
“There are around 2 million expat workers who are trained and have professional experience and living in the Kingdom. This category of expat workers need to transfer their sponsorships to correct their status. The private sector can benefit from their services.”
“The Ministry of Labor must close the door to the recruitment of expat workers from abroad. The last three-month period saw many expat workers leave on final exit visas. Therefore the private sector needs to fill these vacancies by employing trained and qualified expat workers who are living in the Kingdom by correcting their status,” he said.
A lot of expatriate workers claim that their private sector companies are refusing to transfer their sponsorships. Many also said that the three-month grace period was not enough time for them to find jobs at companies in the Green Zone of the Nitaqat Program that would allow sponsorship transfers.
While some sponsors refuse to allow transfers, others pretend they have financial problems or are not allowed under the Nitaqat system to transfer workers, it is claimed.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Labor, Hattab Al-Enizi, confirmed in a previous interview with Arab News, that the ministry would punish Saudi sponsors and foreign workers if they do not have the proper documentation.
“Expatriate employees will be punished if they work for other businesses. The labor office’s inspectors are regularly checking companies to make sure they hire expatriate employees and transfer their sponsorships,” Al-Enizi said.
Expatriates can transfer to new sponsors if they have a letter of their new sponsor certified by chambers of commerce and industry in various provinces, an original or copy of a residence permit (iqama), a passport and SR 2,000.


Scholars call for initiating intercultural partnership to fight Islamophobia

Updated 5 min 9 sec ago
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Scholars call for initiating intercultural partnership to fight Islamophobia

MAKKAH: Rejecting all forms of hatred and extremism, Muslim scholars from 127 countries have proposed to initiate an intercultural partnership to effectively fight Islamophobia.
More than 1,299 religious scholars and intellectuals took part in a conference titled “International Conference on Islamic unity — the perils of labeling and exclusion” held in Makkah on Wednesday.
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated the event organized by the Muslim World League (MWL).
The participants of the conference called for a comprehensive plan to address sectarianism and extremism.
They also stressed the need for creating effective channels of communication between followers of different Islamic schools of thought to remove misunderstandings and increase cooperation.
They unanimously rejected sectarian views and extremist ideas and urged scholars and preachers to play their role in uniting Muslims.
The Makkah governor delivered a speech on behalf of King Salman underlining the need to remove misconceptions about Islam and Muslims through dialogue. He also urged Muslims to set aside their petty differences and to work together to achieve a great and prosperous future.
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, who is also head of the MWL Supreme Council, highlighted the teachings of Islam that categorically reject all forms of discrimination.
The grand mufti urged the Muslims to forge unity among their ranks and do away with rivalries, petty differences and say no to divisions and factionalism.
Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, president of the Emirates Fatwa Council, stressed that unity is a great Islamic concept that includes all spheres of human existence and covers all individual, collective and international relations. Islam is a religion of unity, he added
Sheikh Bayyah said the difference of opinion should not be construed as enmity.
He deplored the spirit of exclusion and rejecting and mistrusting others. He said a moderate approach is necessary to counter extremism and hatred.
MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the problems we are witnessing in today’s world emanate from a lack of open dialogue and futile rivalries between sects and denominations.
The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, hailed Saudi Arabia’s successful experience against extremism, violence and terrorism. He said the steps Saudi Arabia has taken to counter this negative trend have transformed it into a reliable reference for everything related to Islam.
He praised the efforts, bold steps and resolute policies carried out by the Kingdom to eradicate extremist ideas from society.