Expats Will Lose Their Jobs in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, For One Important Reason

According to some reports, the number of expatriates working in Saudi is said to be on the “alarming” state. As such, the Saudi government has a new policy dabbed “Saudi First” through the Nitiqat System, which will ensure that only a few highly ranked companies can renew work visas for expatriates. This rank, however, will be based on the number of Saudi citizens working for the company. The higher the number of

This rank, however, will be based on the number of Saudi citizens working for the company. The higher the number of citizen workers, the higher the rank of the company.

For the longest time, Saudi Arabia has been dependent on the oil industry. The government now wants to secure its economy through job creation for locals. This will obviously be achieved by blocking visas for expatriates. As a result, the government become less dependent on oil-based industries and will improve focus on broad-based investments.

The other way of getting rid of expat workers is through the new levy fees that will take effect come 2018. Fewer companies will want to risk the charges that come with hiring expatriate workers. On top of this, expatriates will suffer a 5% VAT increase making it practically impossible to survive and save while working here. On the same breath, all expatriate business people who run their businesses under the names of Saudi citizens will also suffer huge consequences once caught, according to the Nitiqat System.

Since it is evident that the future holds little to no space for the need for oil, Saudi wants to ensure that their economy does not disintegrate with the lack of oil use. This is why the government insists on creating some income form the local workforce; something which will not happen if expatriates continue being the bigger part of the workforce.

 

Christmas and Birthdays Are Forbidden in Saudi Arabia. But Here’s What You Can Do.

Being a purely Muslim country, Saudi Arabia has a strict ban for Christian celebrations such as Christmas. This is to the level where even a Muslim cannot wish a Christian a Merry Christmas as it goes against the Muslim belief that Allah did not give birth nor was he born as stated in the Quran. The best a Christian in Saudi Arabia can get during Christmas is a simple “Happy Holiday!” or a gift that has no mention of Christmas.

The best a Christian in Saudi Arabia can get during Christmas is a simple “Happy Holiday!” or a gift that has no mention of Christmas.

If you’re thinking this is a bias against Christians, it really is not. It’s just a blanket approach on all new age religious celebrations. See, much like the Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth did not start until almost three centuries after His death; the Muslim celebration of Prophet Mohammed also did not start until four centuries after his death. This too is therefore forbidden in Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim celebration of was actually adopted from Egypt, where an actual date was formulated and set as his birthday. This is much like Christmas for Christians as this too was started by Dr. Bilal Philips where the actual date was chosen. So as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, neither of these celebrations are authentic to either religion and therefore bear no real meaning to the state.

So as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, neither of these celebrations are authentic to either religion and therefore bear no real meaning to the state.

So the next time you’re in Saudi around the Christmas season, watch your tongue and keep your celebration to a low-key minimum. Also, fret not, you can still celebrate birthdays and Christmas at the comfort of your home. It’s Ok. Just make sure that you do not make any loud noise that can disturb your neighbor and please, no illegal materials/acts present in the event.

 

Expats Are No Longer Allowed To Work in Public Sectors By 2020 – Ministry of Civil Service

According to an article published by Saudi Gazette, Deputy Minister of Civil Service, Abdullah Al Melfi, alerted the public that tno expatriate will be expected to be working in government sectors by the year 2020. This is meant to work towards achieving the National Transformation Program’s goal of achieving a government workforce made up of 100% Saudi citizens. This literally means that not a single foreigner will be hired to work in the government by 2020. How did this come to be?

This is meant to work towards achieving the National Transformation Program’s goal of achieving a government workforce made up of 100% Saudi citizens. This literally means that not a single foreigner will be hired to work in the government by 2020. How did this come to be? Are you ready for this?

“The complete nationalization of the government jobs is an important objective of the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Malfi said.

Well, this is a goal that the National Transformation Program has been working towards in order to ensure that the entire government sector features Saudi citizens only. On the side note, STC, Aramco, Mobily, local banks have majorly implemented this in the private sector, it’s not shocking if this will be implemented as well, in the public sector.

By last year, the number of expatriate workers in the government sector was up to 70,000. This drew the need for the meeting held by senior officials in the Interior Ministry with HR professionals from various universities to find an effective way to achieve the 2030 vision.

A detailed report of the progress so far was presented which preceded a lengthy talk on the expected difficulties that the project of Job Nationalization in the government is likely to encounter.

With such detailed planning in place, it is safe to say that for sure, expatriates will not be working for the Saudi Arabian government sectors come 2020.

h/t Saudi Gazette

 

Private Sectors Introduces New Work Schedule in Saudi Arabia: 40 Hours Work Week + 2 Days Off

Employees of the private sector in Saudi Arabia stand a chance to enjoy a two-day weekend and only work 40 hours a week, pending confirmation by King Salman. This is as a result of the vote done by the Shoura Council. For the second time, the Shoura Council has tried to push for these working hours in an effort to amend articles 98,100, 104 of the Saudi Labor Law.

More than 8.4 million members of the Saudi workforce, which includes citizens and expatriates, support this motion. This is because as it stands, the hours they work per week tend to drain them and do not afford them much of a social life. However, as would be expected, most companies, investors, and employers are against it as it robs them some level of profit gained from the extra hours.

The government, last year, shut down this proposal, with the response being that the council should review and reconsider the hours proposed, as well as the two-day weekend idea. As it stands, more than 2 million of the workforce referred to above works in the private sector. Currently, these workers end up working 9 hours per day, though the hours are not meant to surpass 45 hours per week. After this long, tedious week of work, they only get one day off and have to start all over again in the next week. So for almost two years now, the private sector workforce has been waiting for the approval of this proposal to no avail.

This is why the Shoura Council has seen it fit to revive this proposal and see if, this time, they shall not only be heard but be considered and their wishes be granted by the government. Many are hoping that the bill will be accepted and acted upon this time around, and letting the workers avail this privilege.

h/t Emirates 24/7

 

Helpline in Saudi Arabia Dedicated to Serve The Expatriates in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabian expatriates may feel that they have had a rough time finding a way of life here. Well, the government of Saudi Arabia has clearly felt their pain and has introduced a helpline especially set apart for foreigners living in Saudi Arabia. This comes as an answer to the cry of many foreigners who are harassed by their sponsors, employers and even fellow workers who happen to be Saudi citizens.

Many foreign workers in Saudi Arabia complain about the violation of such rights as vacation time, leave or even their salaries being withheld by their employers. Now, these issues can be handled by calling the special number. The officials will either handle the issues with the expatriates’ employers or, if need be, take the matter to the labor court for further action.

So are you a Saudi expatriate in need of help? Call 19911 Saturday to Thursday between 8am to 8pm and get help, free of charge. It is necessary to note, however, that this service is currently available to Urdu, Hindi, Indonesian, English, Arabic, Tagalog and Malayalam speakers only.

 

New Iqama Expat Levy from 2018 to 2020

From January 2018, companies will be expected to pay a new expat levy fee, besides the current dependent fee. This will apply to companies that have an equal or lower amount of expat employees as Saudi citizens as well as companies that have more expatriate employees than Saudi citizens. We break this down year by year:

2018

The current rate that a company that has equal or more foreign employees as Saudi citizens has to pay is SR 2400 per year or SR200 per month. But come January 2018, the rate will go up to SR 3600 per year or SR 300 per month.  The case changes where the expatriates are more than the number of Saudi citizens as then, the company would have to pay a levy fee of SR4800 per year or SR400 per month.

2019

By January 2019, this fee will go up yet another notch higher rising to SR6000 per year or SR 500 per month. This will apply to companies with more or equal number of expatriates in their employ. For those who purely have more expatriates than Saudi citizens, the levy fee charged will be SR 7200 per year or SR 600 per month.

2020

This is where it will get hard, even impossible for a low-income company to hire an expatriate. By this time, companies that have more or equal foreign employees will need to pay a fee of SR 8400 per year or SR 700 per month on each employee. Where the number of foreigners far exceeds that of citizens, the company will be expected to part with a fee of SR 9600 per year or SR 800 per month for each expatriate employee.  Expatriates will clearly need to rethink their work strategies by this time as clearly; companies will be avoiding hiring them.

 

Breaking: Ban on mobile apps is now lifted in Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah Al Sawaha, minister of communications and information technology, announced on Wednesday the lifting of a ban on mobile phone applications effective from coming Wednesday.
Al-Sawaha, who is also chairman of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the Kingdom’s telecom regulator, said that coordination between CITC and the telecom service providers is underway to enable customers, including citizens and expatriates, to benefit from applications that provide voice and video calls over the Internet and that will be in compliance with the requirements, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The minister said that the service providers have confirmed their commitment to enable all customers to use the applications to make voice and video calls of the highest quality and that they will review all applications so as to meet the requirements periodically.
Al-Sawahah thanked the CITC and the telecom companies for developing their technologies in line with the latest trends in the communications and information technology sector and providing the best services for users.
“This fruitful cooperation between the Kingdom’s telecom partners comes under the umbrella of ‘Customer First’, a policy in which everyone works in order to give all telecom subscribers in the Kingdom the best services that meet their expectations and satisfy their needs,” he said.
This step is an extension of previous steps to raise the level of “transparency and clarity” in the sector, including the recent launch of the quarterly index of the classification of telecommunications service providers on the basis of complaints filed by subscribers against service providers, as well as verification of the application of the user protection document and the commitment of service providers to transparency and clarity.
The Kingdom is considered as one of the world’s fastest growing countries in terms of growth in the use of smart phones and participation in social networking platforms. The average use of the Internet by mobile networks in the Kingdom is among the highest globally, which emphasizes the importance of keeping pace with the growing trend in the provision of networks and infrastructure to the highest quality standards.
The ministry is working with the service providers in achieving the goals within the National Transformation Program of 2020 and developing a digital society in line with realizing the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
 

9 Insane Penalties for Employers Involved In Violating Labor Laws in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian government, through the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, has warned companies and employers in general against violating the stipulated Labor Laws.

However, since many companies and employers are still violating these laws, whether knowingly or unknowingly, it has become necessary to list down the most common violations and the penalties that follow. It is paramount that each employer familiarizes with these labor laws so as not to end up on the wrong side of the law.

The Saudi Kingdom is in the process of streamlining the labor market in a bit to strengthen the locals and achieve Saudization.  These include:

  1. If an employer keeps a worker’s passport without their approval, the employer stands to be fined SR 2000. Read: Companies Will be Fined SR2,000 for Keeping Workers’ Passports in Saudi 
  2. An employer will be fined SR5000 if they do not offer a written contract to their employees. This contract should be written in the Arabic language
  3. An employer will abide by the conditions stipulated in the training contract or otherwise stand to be fined SR 5000
  4. Any employer that hires an employee without a written contract or a copy of a written contract will be fined SR 5000
  5. An employer must keep records of their employees including names, fines, salaries as well as medical tests. Failure to this, the employer shall be fined SR 5000
  6. Any employer who withholds full or part of an employee’s salary will be fined SR 5000
  7. If an employer employs a male expatriate as a citizen, they stand to be fined SR 10,000 and the company closed for a day
  8. Employers shall be fined SR 25,000 for hiring expatriates in the capacity of citizens
  9. Employers should not register their employees with GOSI without the employees’ approval. If they do, the employer will be fined SR 25,000 and their company closed for 5 days
 

Shops to close at 9:00PM in the Whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

According to a report published by Al-Watan Arabic daily, the proposed government plan to close shops at 9 p.m. will create heavy losses worth SR46 billion for retail businesses across the country. Many people will also lose their jobs due to cut in working hours.

The report, which was prepared by Saudi Fransi Capital, said the 9 p.m. closure would bring down actual shopping hours to four hours from 5 to 9 p.m. In the day time, people will not get much time for shopping because of official and business engagements and hot climate.

“People may also postpone purchases due to short time available for shopping,” the report said, adding that shopping hours of Western countries cannot be applied in countries like Saudi Arabia where people rarely go out for shopping in the day due to extreme hot weather conditions.

Speaking about the merits of 9 p.m. closure, Saudi Fransi Capital said it would encourage Saudis to work at retail shops as it would give them enough time to spend with their families. It will also increase the efficiency of workers as they would get more time to take rest, it added.

At present 1.2 million jobs in the retail sector are occupied by foreign workers who are ready to work 15 hours daily. Saudis, who find it difficult to compete with foreigners, have taken only 300,000 jobs in the sector, which can play a vital role in solving the Kingdom’s unemployment problem.

Fall in electricity consumption is another positive factor as annual commercial energy consumption will be brought down from 48 terawatt hours to 40 or 44 terawatt hours. It will also reduce traffic congestion and bottlenecks after 9 p.m. and cut fuel consumption of vehicles.

The Saudi Fransi Capital report proposed the closure of retail shops after 9 p.m. giving exemption to some essential service providers like pharmacies, restaurants and fuel stations. Exemptions should also be given to the month of Ramadan and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, it said.

“The project aims at encouraging Saudis, especially women, to accept jobs at retail shops, helping them to balance between work and family commitments,” the report pointed out.

The move will reduce electricity power consumption of commercial shops, it said adding that the plan would reduce the need for security guards at shopping complexes.

“Early closure of shops will also change Saudis’ consumption style, bringing it closer to international patterns,” the report said.

Total spending of consumers in the Kingdom is estimated at SR416 billion, of which 35 percent or SR146 billion is spent after 9 p.m., the report explained.

About 20 percent of this amount goes to food and drinks, 15 percent to clothing and furniture, 30 percent to restaurants and hotels. The report feared a delay in spending SR20 billion in the retail sector until people change their style of shopping.

“Under the new circumstances, sales worth SR5 billion at retail shops will be affected,” the report said. Big shopping malls would be the biggest beneficiary of the 9 p.m. closure. The change in shopping style will affect electronic and equipment market, Saudi Fransi Capital said in its report.

h/t Saudi Gazette

 

Saudi Arabia Grants Iqama for 1 Million Fleeing Burmese – Salute to King Salman!

The genocide against Muslim that has been going on in Burma is something that we shouldn’t pretend of not being aware of. Even though social media and other media house limit or restrict the sharing or coverage of the genocide;  it is not a problem which started recently but rather has been happening for over 70 years. Just imagine the long years that Rohingyans have experience from the oppression of this country – Burma.

Before we delve further, do you know who are Rohingya Muslims? According to an article written by the Telegraph:

They have often been called the most persecuted minority in the world. The Rohingya Muslims squeezed precariously into the north-west state of Rakhine, in mainly Buddhist Burma, bordering majority Muslim Bangladesh, are stateless and unwanted.

Neither country will give them citizenship even though their families’ roots in modern-day Rakhine, once called Arakan, can be traced back to the Eighth Century.

The Muslim community in Burma has been suffering greatly at the hand of the Majority Burma Buddhist. The Muslims are being persecuted or killed. The Rohingyan girls and women are also allegedly being raped by some abusive perpetrators. A report also has it that angry mobs are set an entire family ablaze together, while they were still alive.

The anti-Muslim attitudes in Burma have gotten so intense into the Buddhist’s mind that consistently we see an upsurge in the number of life lost and also the number of Muslims displaced from their homes.

The Muslim people in Burma have no place to run as its nearest neighbor Bangladesh; has not given them passage into their country. However, Saudi Arabia permits persecuted Muslims, who were trying to escape Burma alive, to look for shelter on their land.

The Burmese Muslim people have gradually advanced toward Saudi Arabian soil, and now more than 1 million Burmese Muslims are qualified for residence in Saudi Arabia. Some Burmese natives have been supposedly living in Saudi Arabia for 70 years.

Several individuals who have fled Burma have no country they can call their own. Moving back to Burma is an impossible idea because the issue there gets worst “religious cleansing” and the fear of oppression against Muslims.

Image result for arab news maldives for rohingya

Nevertheless, the hopes of these Burmese Muslims worked out as expected when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose to entitle everyone with an iqama, or what we call “Identity Card.”  This will enable the Burmese residents to concentrate on a more steady and long-term-term future for themselves.

These Muslims from Burma who got away from their country in fear of their lives now have a place they can call their own, without fear of anything.

The sheik of the Burmese people in Saudi Arabia has lauded the role of the Saudi government, in helping the Burmese community to get settled in the Kingdom. He has expressed that the current status that has been issued to his people, by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, has given them total freedom from the mistreatment back home as well as having a permanent residence.

According to the Sheikh “Additionally, due to this new government move, students who are studying in schools run by charitable organizations will now have the opportunity to study in public schools from the primary to secondary stages,”

Additionally, the government has permitted students who were studying in Charity schools as a result of not being citizens to start public schools from the primary and secondary stages. The iqama will now give them access to public health facilities, and numerous other facilities that are accessible only to the citizens/legal residents of Saudi Arabia.

Actions have started immediately to make sure that the Burmese individuals, who need to exercise the privilege, get their iqama at the earliest possible time. From the date of the announcement to date, 170,000 individuals have gotten their iqama; at last, they now have peace of mind as well as putting their shocks of their past country behind them.

It is sad to state that other than Turkey, Maldives, and Saudi Arabia, no other Islamic nations are taking any measure for the genocide of Muslims in Myanmar. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has contacted Bangladesh government and asked them to open borders for Burma Muslims and that they will pay for the cost of every one of them.

Source: Arab News

The International Community and UN have likewise condemned these deeds and have requested the State counselor of Myanmar Suu Kyi to end the mistreatment and to control the mobs in the Rakhine state. Maldives has likewise cut down relations with Myanmar. Then again, in an interview, Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed has expressed that Rohingya Muslims are not their concern.

 

h/t: Arab News

 

Advisory: All Philippine Passports With a Validity of Less Than 9 Months, Must Adhere

If you are a Filipino working in Saudi Arabia, whether working as an OFW or dependent, you need to make sure that your passport is updated. According to the issued statement of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, on 1st March 2017, all Filipinos must renew their passport, if the validity of their passport is 9 months or less than nine months.

The advisory note is available on Philippine Embassy Riyadh website, and the note is as follows :

philipines embassy passport renewal

 

14 Unbelievable Contributions of Saudi Arabia for Rohingya Muslims That Not Everyone Knows

There have been a lot of negative comments that people are sharing on Facebook, either through their own timeline or comments on news links broadcasted on Facebook pages, about Saudi Arabia’s contributions for the victims of war or ‘genocides’ against minorities such as the Rohingya.

However, there are also who argued that Saudi Arabia has definitely done a great job in helping out the Rohingya Muslims and other nations and below are just some of the country’s contributions. According to Abdulrahman Albawardi , he created this comment / post to enlighten the people (‘bashers’ and negative commentators) and avoid any further ignorance about the issue.

Image result for rohingya genocide

According to Abdulrahman, “…Saudi Arabia has helped Muslims all around the world more than any other country and I hope the ones who think that Saudi didn’t do anything will read this.”

1-Saudi Arabia has welcomed all the Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar and offered Saudi Iqama for 1 Million Burmese. In this respect, they have already issued iqamas for 170,000 people from Myanmar.

2-Free healthcare in government hospitals, free education, and the right to work and open businesses, when other countries welcomed Rohingya Muslims and Syrians as refugees Saudi Arabia welcomed them as brothers. The government has been providing Free Education to 125000 Burmese in Saudi Arabia.

3-Saudi Arabia helped the Burmese Muslims since the 1950s and still have a lot of them. Most of them lived all their lives in Saudi and some of them got the Saudi nationality so we have around 50,000 Burmese Saudis.

4-Saudi Arabia fought the 1982 bill in Burma and donated 50 million dollars for the Burmese refugees in Thailand so you can say Saudi Arabia supported Burmese Muslims before it started being cold in 2012 and now is offering iqama for any Burmese Muslim who is staying in Saudi or coming to Saudi.

5-Since the start of the Syrian war Saudi Arabia donated SR 708 million for the Syrian refugees all around the world and also welcomed 2.5 million Syrians at the start of the war and 600,000 are still living in Saudi Arabia with rights almost equal to Saudis.

6-Saudi Arabia offered to build 200 Mosques in Germany for the Syrian refugees for a cost estimated to be around $900 million, the majority of mosques around the world in non-Muslim countries and poor countries are built by Saudi Arabia.

7-As I am writing this the tenth relief plane from Saudi Arabia is arriving in Yemen. The sixth relief plane from Saudi Arabia is arriving in Aden any moment.

8-Saudi Arabian puts in a share of the Palestinian Authority Budget. Gaza is receiving a Saudi Medical aid care package through the Rafah Port.

9-Zaatari Camp, which is a Saudi health center, that is providing psychological services to around 1400 patients in one week. Saudi clinics in a Zaatari camp located in Jordan are treating around 350 patients per day.

10-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donates around 134 tons of dates for the Eastern Cameroon refugees.

11-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest aid donors in the entire world. Around 7,500 families in Yemen are receiving Food Baskets since the Month of Ramadan from the King Salman Center for Relief.

12-King Salman has increased the humanitarian aid which is being given to Yemen to around above $540 million. The Kingdom has already donated around $274 million in their support of the humanitarian efforts which were badly needed in Yemen.

13-The crown prince previously approved a fasting program for the Somalis and the Syrians. Southern Syria has been receiving around 41 tons of relief material and other aid through a National Saudi Campaign.

14-Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia has directed for the Syrians in Lebanon to receive around $2.4 million in heating fuel.

Further ” I’m not trying to tell you guys that Saudi Arabia is the greatest country in the world I’m trying to show the ignorant people that Saudi Arabia is the country which supports Islam and Muslims all around the world.” “

“Some of you guys are either uninformed or just blinded by hate, just open your eyes and do some research before writing because blindly attacking and ignoring all the good Saudi did will just make you look ignorant and stupid.”

 

Source: Life in Saudi Arabia / Abdulrahman AlBawardi