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Saudi industry fires expats, hires citizens

August 13, 2020
Foreign labourers work on the construction of a house in Riyadh [Credit: Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector has fired more than 1,900 foreign workers and hired almost 500 Saudi citizens in a drive to replace its large expat workforce with the Kingdom’s nationals.

Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef announced on Tuesday that the sector had been witnessing positive results in July in terms of hiring more Saudis and the laying off of expatriates.

“Thanks to Allah the Almighty and then with the continued government support for the economic sectors in general,” tweeted Al-Khorayef, “the industrial sector was able to employ 471 Saudis and lay off 1,904 expatriates during the month of July despite the coronavirus situation.”

Based on data issued by the ministry showing the results and statistics of Saudi industry last month, initiatives offered by the government helped attract investment into the sector worth 1.15 billion Saudi riyals ($307 million) in addition to the job opportunities provided for Saudi nationals.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to changes within industries across the Gulf countries which have long relied on foreign workers, primarily from South Asian nations such as Pakistan and dIndia. Around 87 per cent of all Pakistani citizens working abroad lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year.

Among those changes are predictions that around 1.2 million expat workers could be set to leave the Kingdom this year due to the job losses brought about by the pandemic. Further job losses for expats are expected throughout the Gulf.

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