Expat workers in limbo

Updated 12 August 2013

Expat workers in limbo

Many government-contracted firms in the country do not want to continue sponsoring their expatriate employees because they want to make way for Saudi workers.
A number of expatriate employees here say that many of them have not had their contracts renewed because their companies are concerned about their Nitaqat quotas.
Many of these firms have short-term contracts with government bodies so they do not want to hire expatriate workers for long periods.
Hussain Al-Qahtani, spokesman for the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), said that some companies contracted to the PME have stopped transferring the sponsorships of new expatriate employees.
“Most of the contracted firms have short-term contracts. Therefore, these firms do not want to hire expat employees over the long-term. These firms hire expatriate workers until the end of their contracts with government bodies. Most contracted firms have started looking for Saudis to work in government projects, instead of expats,” Al-Qahtani told Arab News.
Kamal Mahmoud, a Sudanese resident in Jeddah, told Arab News: “I got a chance to work as a public relations expert with a company contracted to a government body. However, I have spent eight months trying to transfer my sponsorship to my employer. I think they do not want to transfer my sponsorship in spite of their promises to me.”
Companies and workers face penalties for not legalizing their work status. However, some firms are still violating the law by hiring expatriates for short-term government contracts without transferring their sponsorship.
“Labor inspectors are regularly checking companies to make sure they hire expatriate employees under their sponsorship,” Hattab Al-Anazi, the Ministry of Labor's spokesman, told Arab News recently.

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.