No ban on hiring Filipino workers

Updated 08 September 2015

No ban on hiring Filipino workers

RIYADH: The Saudi Labor Ministry has denied that it has issued an order banning the recruitment of Filipino workers, with the Philippine government issuing an assurance that the labor pact between the two nations remains in place.
Ezzedin H. Tago, the Philippines' ambassador, told Arab New in a telephone interview on Monday that nothing had changed between the two countries. The Saudi ministry had issued a statement possibly in reaction to some report in local media, he said.
Tayseer Al-Mufrej, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor, said that the Kingdom has not stopped issuing visas for domestic workers from the Philippines. The two countries were working on improving hiring procedures, he said.
He said Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have started implementing aspects of the labor pact signed recently, which includes evaluating and monitoring hiring firms. The accord includes incentives for good performance and penalties for violations, he said.
Al-Mufrej said that an electronic system has been put in place to streamline the hiring process to ensure transparency and accountability, which includes the exchange of data and completing contracts.
He said Saudi Arabia has signed labor agreements with several other countries, with clauses that would tackle various problems including costs and training of workers.
He said the Kingdom has launched initiatives to protect the rights of workers and employers. This includes measures to ensure that workers are aware of Saudi cultural norms. Workers can now lay complaints in Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesian, Tagalog, Amharic, Malay and Bengali.
The agreement requires workers not to have criminal records, no infectious diseases, and with medical certificates issued by certified health centers. Saudi employers must ensure a proper and safe working environment, written contracts, salaries paid into bank accounts and annual leave, Al-Mufrej said.

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

Updated 1 min 27 sec ago

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

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.”