Saudi citizenship eludes long-serving expats

Saudi citizenship eludes long-serving expats
Updated 27 July 2013

Saudi citizenship eludes long-serving expats

Saudi citizenship eludes long-serving expats

Many foreigners, who have worked in the Kingdom for several years contributing to its progress and prosperity, would love to have Saudi citizenship. Pakistani Mansoor Sajid, president group finance and control at Alhamrani Group of Companies, is one of them.
“If Saudi Arabia offers me citizenship I would love to take it because my wife and I want to spend the rest of our lives in the vicinity of the two holy mosques,” Sajid told Arab News. He is now preparing to leave for Malaysia after 32 years of service in the Kingdom.
“I hope Saudi Arabia would give citizenship to long serving expat workers who have a clean record and contributed a lot for its growth,” he said. “There are many foreigners, especially Arabs, who seek Saudi citizenship.”
Sajid intends to settle in Kuala Lumpur with his family making use of Malaysia My Second Home Program, which has already encouraged more than 20,000 expats to settle in the Southeast Asian country.
“I am thankful to God for having a peaceful life in Saudi Arabia and I am leaving the Kingdom with good memories,” he said.
Sajid, who has witnessed Saudi Arabia progressing over the past three decades, noted the government’s endeavors to develop its infrastructure and invest in education and health. “Education will lead the country to greater progress,” he said.
He also commended the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program that enabled nearly 150,000 Saudis to study at reputable international universities at government expense.
“These Saudis will come back not only with their degrees but also with best practices which they learned from other countries,” he said. “They will definitely try to implement those best practices in the Kingdom.”
Speaking about Saudization, Sajid said the government should carry out the program in a well-planned manner without affecting businesses and investments.
“More vocational training centers should be set up to develop the skills of Saudis,” he said, adding that Saudis should be given market-oriented education and English should be taught from an early stage.
Fixing of the minimum wage and reducing working hours would encourage more Saudis to work in the private sector, he said. The ministry should take measures to supply skilled Saudi workers required by the market to stop recruitment of foreigners. “Of course, it will take some time. There is no short-term solution.”
Sajid underscored the government’s plan to develop public transport system in major cities including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Makkah and Madinah. He urged authorities to replace the old Coaster bus service from Jeddah with new ones, saying the old buses would give a bad impression about the country.
Sajid, who has worked for 25 years with Alhamrani Group, thanked his employers for their hospitality and generosity. “I enjoyed working with them. My best wishes to Alhamrani’s sons as well as to my colleagues and all other employees. I will miss most of them,” Sajid is eager to join his son Saifullah Khan, daughter Qamar and grandchildren who have already settled in Malaysia.