Oct 31 2011
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Nitaqat: Expats feel the pinch
"I was recruited to work in Saudi Arabia by a construction company in the engineering sector, but have recently been fired to make way for Saudi employees," Mario (not his real name), a Filipino working in Jeddah for the past four years, told Arab News.
He explained that he became so desperate to find an alternative job that he recently accepted to illegally work as a salesman for a local telecom company.
"My wife, too, has recently been fired due to the new labor laws. She used to work as a nurse in a private clinic and now has been forced to work illegally for less than half of her previous salary in a local primary school," Mario said.
Other expats have complained that after losing their jobs and becoming unable to secure alternative employment they have been forced to seek jobs in neighboring GCC countries.
"I was fired from my job as a secretary two months ago," Ameen Balan, an Indian worker, told Arab News.
"I have been sending my CV to many Saudi companies, but they refuse me saying they prefer to hire nationals for the position. Therefore, I have recently begun to send my CV to companies in Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait in search of a job," he said, adding that the current work environment was turning out to be the opposite of what officials had promised.
This became apparent with an announcement by the Labor Ministry stating they would cut the number of foreign workers from the current 31 percent of the population down to 20 percent over the next few years to "protect Saudi demographics."
The move is expected to mean that as many as three million foreign workers will have to leave the country by 2014.
© Arab News 2011
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