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.


Saudi Arabia’s journey: From 1932 to 2030 and beyond

Saudi Arabia has embarked on a plan to boost renewable energy. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s journey: From 1932 to 2030 and beyond

  • The outdated views about the Kingdom do no justice to the modern Saudi Arabia of 2018 — nor to where it’s heading
  • Saudi Arabia is rich in its youth, its leadership, and its bold plan to transform over the next 12 years in a way it has never done before

RIYADH: There are several shorthand terms for Saudi Arabia bandied around in the press: “Oil-rich,” perhaps, or “the desert Kingdom.”

Neither, of course, does justice to the modern Saudi Arabia of 2018 — nor to where the Kingdom is heading over the next 12 years.

On Sept. 23, Saudi Arabia observes National Day, in recognition of the date in 1932 on which the country was founded by King Abdul Aziz, known in the West as Ibn Saud.

It was during King Abdul Aziz’s reign that oil was discovered in commercial quantities, when in March 1938 “black gold” was struck at the site known as Dammam Well No. 7, or “the Prosperity Well.”

And prosper Saudi Arabia did. The oil boom brought untold riches to the Kingdom — yet the country became over-reliant on the energy industry, forming what Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has called an “addiction” to oil.

It is the crown prince’s bold — and, say many, ambitious — Vision 2030 reform plan that aims to overcome that addiction. 

The plan, unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive blueprint for the future, laying out a strategy, and clear targets, to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.

Under the spirit of the plan, a raft of changes have already taken place. Musical concerts and cinemas have made a comeback, women have been given the right to drive as of June this year, and the economy has opened up more to foreign investment. 

Saudi Arabia — despite, as some news outlets tell us, being so “oil rich” — is also embarking on a plan to boost renewable energy. As part of the Vision 2030 program, Saudi Arabia plans to meet 10 percent of its power demand from renewable sources by 2023 — and it fully expects to exceed this target. The country’s planned megacity — the $500 billion NEOM project, announced last year — will run entirely on renewables. 

It is for these reasons that Arab News is looking forward, rather than back, on this year’s National Day.

In our Saudi National Day section, we delve into myriad aspects of this changing Kingdom, from how the youth — surely the country’s most valuable resource — perceive the future of the country, to the various megaprojects underway, women’s empowerment, and the entertainment revolution being seen in country where cinemas, until very recently, were banned. 

This is complemented by a new section on the Arab News website called “Road to 2030” where you will find all the latest news, analysis and opinion about the reforms. 

As is becoming increasingly clear to the world, Saudi Arabia is no longer a “desert Kingdom,” nor will it be oil-rich forever. 

It is rich in other ways: In its youth, its leadership, and its bold plan to transform over the next 12 years in a way it has never done before.