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Expats at Yanbu fish market in tight spot

Scores of Asian expatriate workers selling fish in the central fish market in Yanbu are in a tight spot as authorities are intensifying inspection campaign to implement the policy of nationalization of shops in the coastal town. The market, which is largely dominated by Asian expatriates, has been under the radar of authorities to create jobs for unemployed Saudi youth.
Until recently, many of the shops were managed by expatriate workers mainly from Bangladesh and India. They paid their Saudi sponsors anything between SR40,000 and SR50,000 per year, which is much higher than actual cost which is not less than SR10,000, sources said.
A number of shops have been shut down in Yanbu with the result the price of fish has gone up 30 percent and supplies to Madinah and Jeddah have been affected.
“We are allowed only to cut and clean the fish,” an Indian expatriate told Arab News, and added that many workers are not entering the market for fear of arrest and deportation.
Some workers said by telephone that they will leave for home on six-month exit/re-entry visas. “If the situation continues to remain the same even then, our long association with the fish market will become memory,” one worker said.
Expatriate workers used to run shops from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. but now Saudi citizens man the shops just for a few hours, sources said, adding that most of them leave at noon to pick up their children from schools.
Yanbu Gov. Mosaed Al-Salem is monitoring the Saudization process in the fish market and making field visits to the site. To ensure implementation of directives, a special committee has been formed that includes police, representative from the governorate, officials from Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries, Labor and Commerce and representatives of fishermen, according to official sources.
Sayeed Al-Rajbi, chairman of Saudization committee in the fish market has hailed the move saying that it should have been done long ago.
According to sources in the market, special teams are stationed in the market to apprehend any violator and authorities are not allowing any shop to operate without Saudi employees. They added that no expatriate worker is allowed to deal with customers, which has to be carried out only by a Saudi citizen.

Scores of Asian expatriate workers selling fish in the central fish market in Yanbu are in a tight spot as authorities are intensifying inspection campaign to implement the policy of nationalization of shops in the coastal town. The market, which is largely dominated by Asian expatriates, has been under the radar of authorities to create jobs for unemployed Saudi youth.
Until recently, many of the shops were managed by expatriate workers mainly from Bangladesh and India. They paid their Saudi sponsors anything between SR40,000 and SR50,000 per year, which is much higher than actual cost which is not less than SR10,000, sources said.
A number of shops have been shut down in Yanbu with the result the price of fish has gone up 30 percent and supplies to Madinah and Jeddah have been affected.
“We are allowed only to cut and clean the fish,” an Indian expatriate told Arab News, and added that many workers are not entering the market for fear of arrest and deportation.
Some workers said by telephone that they will leave for home on six-month exit/re-entry visas. “If the situation continues to remain the same even then, our long association with the fish market will become memory,” one worker said.
Expatriate workers used to run shops from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. but now Saudi citizens man the shops just for a few hours, sources said, adding that most of them leave at noon to pick up their children from schools.
Yanbu Gov. Mosaed Al-Salem is monitoring the Saudization process in the fish market and making field visits to the site. To ensure implementation of directives, a special committee has been formed that includes police, representative from the governorate, officials from Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries, Labor and Commerce and representatives of fishermen, according to official sources.
Sayeed Al-Rajbi, chairman of Saudization committee in the fish market has hailed the move saying that it should have been done long ago.
According to sources in the market, special teams are stationed in the market to apprehend any violator and authorities are not allowing any shop to operate without Saudi employees. They added that no expatriate worker is allowed to deal with customers, which has to be carried out only by a Saudi citizen.

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