New labor proposals opposed

Updated 24 January 2014

New labor proposals opposed

Saudi businessmen and economists have opposed the new proposals made by the Labor Ministry to restrict the stay of foreign workers to seven years and discourage them from bringing their families to the Kingdom, saying such measures are counterproductive. These proposals will push 70 percent of private companies into the red category of the Nitaqat nationalization scheme, they said.
Businessmen have insisted that the proposals should not be implemented without considering the private sector’s views and suggestions. “In my opinion, the proposals are good in principle. At the same time, the ministry should consider the private sector’s views and requirements,” said Abdul Rahman Al-Rabeeah, president of the Saudi-Indian Business Council.
Speaking with Arab News, Al-Rabeeah said: “If the proposals are implemented as they are without taking into consideration the private sector, this could have a negative impact on businesses and industries and may push many companies to the red category. Since these proposals are made for the private sector, the ministry should consider our views and recommendations before making it a law.”
About 30 percent of the ministry’s proposals need to be reconsidered because of their economic, social, security and international implications, said representatives from the Consultant Offices Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).
Muhammad Al-Dardiri, vice-president of the committee, said it was in the process of discussing the draft proposals with the business sector. “The discussions will continue for a week, after which it would come up with recommendations to be submitted to the Labor Ministry,” Al-Dardiri said, adding that the recommendations would contain detailed figures and statistics.
He said only five days were left to arrive at a consensus on the proposals before they are submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.
Participants in the discussions of the draft proposals believe it would have serious repercussions on the business sector, with 70 percent of the companies in the private sector likely to land in the red zone once the decisions are implemented.
According to the draft proposal, an expat worker living in the Kingdom with his wife and two children will be considered as two foreign workers under the proposed system. An expat receiving a salary of SR6,000 and more will be equivalent to 1.5 points in the new system, but professionals whose degrees have been attested by Saudi authorities will be exempted from the salary rule.
Saudi experts said the proposal would hike the volume of foreign remittances made by expats and minimize their expenditure in the Kingdom. “A single expat would send his entire salary home since his family is not with him,” one expert said.
The proposals, if implemented in the same form, would have a negative impact on security since incidents of harassment and assault can be expected to go up. Sameer Hussein, head of the committee, said many businessmen have expressed their apprehensions on the proposals, stating that it will impact the private sector, particularly small enterprises, and may force them of business.

DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

Updated 33 min 22 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

  • Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges

RIYADH: Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing called on Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh at his office in Riyadh, where they exchanged views on strengthening mutual cooperation.

Discussed at the meeting were issues of mutual interest to enhance bilateral cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

After the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I was honored to meet with the minister of Islamic affairs, and we exchanged views on strengthening the dialogue on civilizations and friendship between people of the two countries and issues of common interests.”

Earlier, Weiqing met Abdul Aziz Al-Owaisheq, assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

He was accompanied by his delegation of officials from the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to enhance joint cooperation, in accordance with the agreements signed within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides. 

They also discussed the latest developments in regional and international politics, issues of common interest, and their upcoming joint meetings.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I am pleased to exchange views with the assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the GCC about developing relationship between China and the council.”

Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges and are keen on continuing their close bilateral relations and developing them into a long-term strategic partnership protecting mutual interests. 

Saudi Arabia is one of China’s top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.