'Red-zone' firms face massive crackdown

'Red-zone' firms face massive crackdown
Updated 22 August 2014

'Red-zone' firms face massive crackdown

'Red-zone' firms face massive crackdown

Saudi authorities are getting ready to launch a massive campaign next month against more than 17,000 firms that are in the "red zone" of the Nitaqat nationalization scheme for not employing a single Saudi, Labor Ministry sources said.
“There are 17,314 red-zone firms in different parts of the Kingdom that employ 241,530 foreign workers,” one source said, adding that labor officials would allow these workers to transfer their services to companies in the green and platinum zones for having a more than sufficient Saudi-to-expat ratio.
“Labor officials will ask the owners of these firms to show evidence that suggests that they did not allow their workers to look for jobs in the market because workers would not have valid resident permits,” the source said.
Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Services, emphasized the importance of the ongoing joint campaign waged by Interior and Labor Ministry officials, saying it was primarily aimed at cleansing the country’s labor market.
“The campaign is not at all targeted against foreign workers,” Badawood told Arab News.
He said companies that improve their Saudi-to-expat ratio would be given more visas to bring experienced and skilled foreign workers.
He, however, stressed that companies in red and yellow categories must employ more Saudi nationals if they want to stay in business.
“This is the only solution,” he said.
Badawood said he believed that Interior and Labor ministries would continue their campaign against residency and labor rule violators.
“Some people think the campaign will die down after sometime, but I believe that the campaign will continue until illegals are driven out,” he added.
He said the campaign would not have any negative impact on business in the long run.
“Of course, it will affect business temporarily, but stronger companies employing a greater number of Saudis will eventually contribute to strengthening the market.”
Capt. Abdul Aziz Al-Harbi, Eastern Province police spokesman, said nearly 82,000 illegal workers have been arrested in the region during this Hijrah year.
“More than 700 illegal expats have been arrested over the past 24 hours across the region,” he pointed out.
He said Al-Ahsa police carried out an intense security campaign late Monday night, adding that the campaign continued until Tuesday morning.
“Police and labor officials targeted foreign workers in the Al-Maraz, Al-Kout and Al-Mazrouiyah districts, in addition to majors streets in the city center, and arrested 185 violators,” Al-Harbi said.
He said police arrested 5,523 violators in the region during the past three weeks, adding that they have been transferred to special detention centers. About 5,625 violators have been arrested in the industrial city of Jubail, he said.