Saudi Arabia has 11 million foreign workers from more than 100 countries

Updated 01 December 2017
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Saudi Arabia has 11 million foreign workers from more than 100 countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is one of the largest labor markets in the world with 11 million foreign workers from more than 100 countries represented in many sectors and fields of work, according to a senior official.
Adnan bin Abdullah Al-Naim, undersecretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, was addressing Saudi recruiting agents and a 32-member delegation from Colombo at the Council of Saudi Chambers on Tuesday.
The Saudi team was headed by Mansour Al-Shathri, chairman of the Saudi Committee for the Labor Market Council of Saudi Chambers.
Under Saudi Vision 2030, Al-Naim said that efforts were being aimed at making the labor market more attractive to foreign workers.
Al-Naim said that the ministry has been working in coordination with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other relevant bodies to develop laws that protect the rights of employers and workers and to curtail violations against migrant workers.
He also shared details about the MUSANED scheme where foreign recruitments are processed through an electronic platform providing a variety of services, including e-contracting and e-Visas.
“The program facilitates recruitment procedures and safeguards the rights of concerned parties,” he said.
The undersecretary said that the Saudi labor market is considered the fourth largest in the world, where the number of domestic workers is about 2.3 million workers.
Saudi Arabia is an active member of the ILO, he said, and its systems comply with the provisions of the international organization.
It is a signatory to several conventions on the protection of workers’ rights as well as the prevention of labor violations, breach of contracts, non-payment of salaries and delayed salaries.
Mansour Al-Shathri, chairman of the Saudi Committee for the Labor Market Council of Saudi Chambers, said the meeting comes in the context of reviewing the Saudi labor market regulations to preserve the rights of expatriate workers, improve the working environment and ensure the right relationship between employers and workers within the framework of the bilateral labor agreement.
The visiting team was led by Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim also attended.
Hailing the efforts of the Saudi authorities to maintain consistency in managing a large foreign workforce, Ambassador Thassim said that under Saudi Vision 2030 workers’ rights are protected and their interests will be looked after.
There are more than 200,000 Sri Lankan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and half of them are maids, he said.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

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 urged 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.

“But 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.”