Sunday, December 8, 2013

All ado about nothing!

There is an old saying - "When the potato gets too hot, don't hold it in your hands anymore". This seems to be the case of the much-publicized and now infamous raids on "illegal' expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.
This blog has been repeatedly highlighting how time and again, rules which were implemented with much pomp were finally reduced to a whimper. First, it was the case of female teachers in the kingdom (click here). So senseless was this rule to transfer their sponsorships to their schools that it was quickly diluted to almost nothing.
Now comes the latest in the series of further dilutions. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has now announced that workers in fuel stations and those working in automobile service centres will get a two-year grace period to correct their status. For the uninitiated, Saudization is only for white-collar office-based jobs which does not require any physical or mental strain at all. Afterall, it is below a Saudi's dignity to get his hands dirty in a car service centre, let alone having the technical knowledge to do a repair isn't it? And who wants to sweat it out by carrying a 30-kg gas cylinder to the top floor? These menial jobs are for the "illegal" expats from a far away third world planet, right?
In several ways, the extended grace period which expired on 3rd November was a blessing in disguise. Thousands of expats who were trapped and had no way to get out without their sponsors' permission found a great window of opportunity - they simply left! And how it has affected the economy! Building construction, road laying, and virtually every single job which required hard hands-on manual labor has now ground to a halt. Contractors are wriggling their hands unable to complete projects. Taxi drivers have raised their tariffs. Suddenly, the markets are empty with no one to do the dirty work. So, what's the best face-saving way to at least postpone disaster day, if not get rid of it? Read the first sentence of this article again.
As it is, life has become very tough these days. Istemara charges have been raised by 50%. Inflation has shot up everywhere, with salaries not keeping pace. A leading executive of an MNC put it very plainly - "The rhetoric that illegal expats are occupying positions meant for Saudis is no longer cutting ice among common Saudis. The realization is slowly dawning on them that what was meant to create jobs for Saudis is back-firing on them with shooting inflation. To add to the problem, skilled expats are no longer preferring to come to the kingdom to work. The only way to save this country is to scrap outdated rules, open up the economy and treat expats with dignity so that the best talent is tapped.". True words from a wise man, but will it ever work?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is that the Ministry of Labor is not even mentioned on that Arab News article. Is Ministry of Labor trying to save face by letting another department be on front or are there conflicting interests between different departments? Who knows?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

I am not at all surprised. In case of female teachers, it was the Ministry of Education which took this decision and not Ministry of Labor. Anything is possible in paradise!

Anonymous said...

Dear Expatguru, Here it goes again ! Today in Arabnews they again changed their stance, now the teachers have to get transferred to school sponsorship to stay in the job. Do they really care what the world thinks of these foolish fip-flops ?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Yes, I noticed it too. Don't worry, this will also automatically change once they find that there are no female teachers at school and the crisis builds up.

Expatguru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I thought that teachers were, pretty much, immune from this purge? Didn't lots of them decide not to turn up, rather than be deported, leaving schools powerless to control their populations?

Leon said...

My pressure goes up when i read about these crazy rules. Lets face it, the saudis are best suited for eating kabsa and drinking gaava. My only consolation is that i will be leaving the "kingdom of humanity" in 6 months never to return..

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS ARTICLE

Anonymous said...

Dear expatguru. I was working in 'KFC' Restaurant. My sponser is 'Al Mawari Recruitment co.' Due to hard work I cannot work in KFC. I left the KFC and returned back to my sponser. I requested to change my work to the sponser. But my sponser refuses to change my work. It says go back in KFC. If u don,t want to go KFC then return to ur country Nepal. But u have to pay first 6000 SAR and then u can go nepal. It have been 2 months from Nepal. I don't have money to eat even more. How can I give him this amount? I want to do work in another position like in cleaner, waiter, electrician helper and in supermarket. But I cannot work in KFC. Or i want to go back in Nepal. I have the work permit in 'RESTAURAN WORKER'. Please Sir help me. I'm very hopefull to you.