RIYADH: More than 250,000 accommodation spaces have been found to house foreign workers in Saudi Arabia during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The temporary housing units identified by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are aimed at easing overcrowding and preventing the spread of COVID-19 among migrant workers.
The provision of the units, all of which have been registered on the ministry’s website, followed the setting up of a committee to look into the conditions of foreign workers’ housing in the Kingdom in the wake of the virus pandemic.
Headed by Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Majid Al-Hogail, the committee has established a database of real-estate units for use as temporary lodgings for workers to relieve congestion and overcrowding, and has also issued regulations which would punish any employers who violated the housing requirements of their staff.
Charitable associations and the private sector are cooperating with the committee’s housing initiative to provide subsistence for unorganized laborers during the lockdown period and health and safety inspections of the alternative housing units are to be carried out in conjunction with the Saudi Council of Engineers.
The committee stressed the importance of facilitating the exit of expats and a recommendation was also made to lodge workers in factories as part of the plan to relieve congestion.