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.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 21 min 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”