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The Saudization effect…

I’ll give you the characteristics of two men and tell you what happened. You tell me what’s askew.

1. He’s very skilled in his profession. He has numerous years of know-how in his field. He always comes on time and doesn’t leave without finishing the job. He doesn’t complain about his salary and manages it well to feed his wife and 3 kids. Other than those expenses, he also has extended stay permits (iqamas) to pay for each year. Since he doesn’t get medical benefits from the company, that too digs into his shallow pockets. He’s just a clerk (assistant). But he’s not Saudi.

2. He’s not skilled in this line of work or anything relating to electronics. He possesses no experience in this field. He slacks around and habitually leaves work for the next day. He complains that he’s Saudi and deserves a better wage than offered even though he isn’t married and has a car his mother purchased for him. He pays no taxes and doesn’t have to pay for anything other than the usual take-out. He’s looking for a job, anything he can get with a high school degree. He’s Saudi.

Next thing I know, the expatriate (from Asia) is laid off and has no chance of getting another job because the government passed strict rules that companies should hire Saudi nationals only. Five years ago maybe his CV and recommendations could have landed him another job around these dunes but time has changed. He can’t get his iqama renewed since his sponsor has fired him…heck he can’t even stay since he has no sponsor. He’s been given his dues and tickets to go back home with his family. He used to support relatives back in his country with his meager paycheck and now they’ll have to find another way to make a living…probably spend whatever he earned to try and get back into the kingdom under another sponsor and work for even less…ultimately knowing that he’ll be replaced by another Saudi.

I don’t get it. Present this case to any court around the world and they’ll certainly hold the sponsor accountable for firing the expatriate wrongly due to discrimination. Here, you can’t even present it since this bigotry actually runs in the new regulations passed by the government.

Pity not the poor man, nor the Saudi populace, but the regime which blindly practices prejudice against foreigners and only sees prejudice when it is practiced against them.

This Saudiazation has been going on for quite some time, but I didn’t know it went down like this…

  1. Omar
    August 24, 2006 at 11:40 AM

    Man thats just sad. the saudis have enough money from dey family to live till 60 why not look for a job instead of havin da govt kick out some guy so u can si on his chair

  2. May
    August 24, 2006 at 11:29 PM

    I had a friends father fired because of this. it just shows how weak the saudis are when it comes to employment. theres enough for everyone

  3. AJ
    August 25, 2006 at 11:22 AM

    i still see lots saudis drivin round jobless. u know wat pisses me off? its dat the employers are racist kickin out asians and not keepin westerners. shit they even prefer westerners over they own people

  4. (edited)
    August 25, 2006 at 10:45 AM


    Learn to post with decency.

  5. Hussein
    August 25, 2006 at 11:56 AM

    An uncle of mines colleague was fired just like that last year. He was replaced by a young Saudi who had not even a months experience and they even asked my uncle’s friend to train him. i have not heard much about firings but i’m sure it happens everywhere

  6. Sam
    August 25, 2006 at 12:12 PM

    It’s really sad…and pathetic that it has come down to this…

  7. Sarah
    August 25, 2006 at 3:35 PM

    I’ve been hearing about this but didn’t quite belive them. How could they just fire employees like that? Do they give them their benefits or a pension or something? Do they allow them to stay long enough to find another job?

  8. August 26, 2006 at 1:53 PM

    Sam I never heard of this when I lived there. Does it happen very ofen? How come you can’t go to court if someone fires you?

  9. Omar
    August 26, 2006 at 2:15 PM

    Marisa i dont think courts will do anything for you here

  10. August 28, 2006 at 5:21 AM

    all of my dads mates have been shipped off. its a sad state really. el7amdillah my dads jobs secure. but it is very unsettling to knw u may be ‘kicked’ out any day.

  11. Jamal
    August 28, 2006 at 11:17 PM

    I cant believe this happens. isnt it illegal?

  12. Sam
    August 29, 2006 at 2:41 AM

    Sarah: I haven’t seen any fired workers given time to search for another job…t’s sad.

    Marissa: Although I haven’t seen many cases myself…I’ve been told by people who have had relatives fired for this reason…

    diabz: Unsettling for sure…all we can do is pray.

    Jamal: Beats me…

  13. Marissa
    August 29, 2006 at 10:36 AM

    What kind of a system is that? Where do the workers turn to? Arent there any unions?

  14. Ahmed
    August 29, 2006 at 1:56 PM

    i know someone who was fired like that. he was lucky and got another sponsor very quick and had time to look for another job but its very rare

  15. Abood
    August 29, 2006 at 7:41 PM

    I heard about this and its sad and theres nothing we can do. my friend owns a company and he says the government forces them to hire saudis and encourages firing of foreigners not in high jobs

  16. mohd qassim
    August 30, 2006 at 8:10 AM

    this shows that the forest laws applies in human life too……”survival is to the strongest not only the fitest” if ur strong,if u have enought of authority and money u survive but if ur weak & if ur poor with no authority u will eventually end up badly……… thats how it is

  17. Areej
    August 30, 2006 at 9:32 AM

    I heard that doctors and high pay jobs don’t get fired because the locals are not yet fit to replace thm. onl drivers and teachers and assistants and other not so high jobs

  18. ahmad
    August 30, 2006 at 11:44 AM

    it sure does seem like survival of the fittest but how can the poor low ranking workers survive whn thy have no way of going up?

  19. (edited)
    August 30, 2006 at 11:52 AM


     Learn to post with decency…

  20. madman
    August 30, 2006 at 12:00 PM

    why did u delete my comment? all i said was the saudi goverment is racist and saudis can find jobs anywhere they want. im sorry if your saudi and i offended your country but its the truth

  21. John
    August 30, 2006 at 1:55 PM

    Sam, I found this page through searching for jobs in the Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar. I’m from New Zealand and the people I know who work in Saudi Arabia have told me about the great job opportunities but never mentioned anything about this policy. Why aren’t people talking about this? How can someone live and work there knowing they might be replaced in an instant?

  22. Mohammed
    August 30, 2006 at 2:17 PM

    My friend was fired last year for this exact reason. Since he was not Saudi he had no choice but to search quickly for another sponsor. He was not lucky and was forced to leave the country and try coming back in with a new visa. He now lives in Kuwait where the jobs are secure and foreigners live happy along with Kuwaitis. The Saudi governmtnet should change its policy if it is still going on.

  23. Moin
    August 31, 2006 at 2:30 PM

    The expatriates from the Asia are suffering the most since they have everything to lose. I personally know many who were fired because Saudis were available to replace them. Why don’t Saudis start washing cars and cutting hair or sell meat and start from the bottom instead of being spoon fed by the government?

  24. Edward
    August 31, 2006 at 2:43 PM

    They also have this racial policy of not firing anyone who is Caucasian or carrying a western passport. I have noticed this trend among most employers and the general public

  25. Yousef
    August 31, 2006 at 1:12 PM

    That is what bothers me most. Saudis even pay westerners more than their own citizens. What kind of country openly does that. It’s like openly decalring that its own people are not as fit as other nationalities. And then they see firing the lower working class as the only way of getting Saudis into jobs

  26. Mark
    August 30, 2006 at 4:43 PM

    All of the Saudis I know give me the same answer when I ask them what they want to work as: anything that provides a desk and a high salary without many hours. Some have their futures planned out and told me they are planning to become doctors and engineers but most asked for a desk and good money. With such ideology, no wonder the government has to spoon feed them.

  27. Blue
    August 31, 2006 at 3:51 AM

    It’s sad that the world’s main supplier of oil is doing this when it should be a role model for it’s neighbors and the rest of the world.

  28. Blaze
    August 31, 2006 at 5:18 AM

    Every country has its discrimination thing going on. We got racism in the states and bush made it clear after Katrina and now we even have muslim profiling at airports. Israel has it against plaestine. Saudis got it on poor foreigners

  29. RJ
    August 31, 2006 at 9:34 AM

    Where I come from, if an employee has the slightest hint of being treated unfairly, he or she can take their superiors straight to court.

  30. Lisa
    August 31, 2006 at 2:14 AM

    I cannot even imagine the thought of firing an experienced worker with someone fresh with no experience just because of their nationality. Doesn’t it affect the business? How is this allowed to continue?

  31. Fatima
    August 30, 2006 at 6:26 PM

    A friend of mine told me something similars to this but I never thought so many people got affected. Is there sch a big rate of unemployment rate that there is no other solution?

  32. Sam
    September 1, 2006 at 2:50 AM

    Honestly, I don’t know that much about the government here but all I know is that this policy goes on without anyone speaking. The ones who want to speak are the foreigners, especially the lower working class…and they honestly don’t have a voice because the government keeps the higher foreign working class happy and the Saudis are already satisfied. It’s sad…

  33. Sam
    September 1, 2006 at 3:03 AM

    AbulGassem…thought your dad owned a company in UAE 🙂

  34. Sam
    September 1, 2006 at 3:13 AM

    madman…I’m not saying you can’t voice your opinion. My being Saudi or not is irrelevant…I couldn’t care less whether you were speaking fact or fiction…but dissing a group of people for no reason won’t help you so lighten up.

  35. QT
    September 1, 2006 at 3:24 AM

    First they dont let women drive and vote and now they are firing foreign workers just like that. who built the country again?

  36. Fahad
    September 1, 2006 at 2:57 AM

    I’m an expat in ksa and it hurst to know that people from my part of asia are targetted the most. im even sure the employers dont like the new rules because that means they have to pay more to the saudi replacemnts than they did to the expatraites. but the government makes the rules

  37. September 1, 2006 at 8:50 AM

    Although I understand your concerns but you have to realise that the government is doing this because it is responsible to provide jobs for saudis .. if the unemployment rate went up in Asia, the Saudi population will not suffer .. but if it went up in Saudi .. the government is responsible and the economy will suffer ..
    somtimes cruel measures need to be taken .

    I do realise though, that maybe the method of how this process is going could be wrong ..

  38. Sam
    September 1, 2006 at 11:13 AM

    QT: The country was built mainly with foreign labor…

    Arabian Princess: I agree with you; I do realize that the government should provide jobs for its citizens, and I have no problems with that…and cruel measures are sometimes needed as you have mentioned (look at all the layoffs companies make to improve their businesses).

    The problem is, this method is seriously wrong. The government should look for other means. For example the kingdom is in need of many new schools; why not speed up the building of schools and hire Saudis? An economy can’t be fixed with the snap of a finger…but the government here decided that’s just what it wants…snap a finger and make some foreigners disappear.

  39. September 3, 2006 at 10:00 AM

    sam, i faced a lot of discrimination when i came to bahrain. couldn’t believe it really… all based on the fact that i’m american and my age. it’s amazing how some companies won’t even look at you when you’re a foreigner and then… when you’re over 30, you might as well forget it w/ a lot of companies!

  40. Sam
    September 3, 2006 at 2:00 PM

    tooners: You wouldn’t even believe how much discrimination people face here. The general public is good but you know every country has its sour ones…and those paint an ugly image for everyone else. But since you’re American…as funny as it may seem amidst all the discrimination of others, you would have been treated like a queen here. Heck employees would have jostled around to have you in their workforce…but the downside is you wouldn’t have much freedom like you do in Bahrain.

  41. Saad
    September 8, 2006 at 10:13 AM

    The discrimination in the arab states is very high. its a sad situation for everyoe living there. to top that with expelling foreigners just isn’t right since its the expatariates that have built those countries into what they are now. so much for saying thank you

  42. September 20, 2006 at 12:04 AM

    My friends have told me about a similar incident that happened there. They spoke about a new government initiative to put more Saudis into jobs but they never expected the new employment changes to go like that. In other countries this is the kind of thing companies will never do, due to lawsuits which could cost them millions. How does the law system work there?

  43. Sam
    September 20, 2006 at 4:53 AM

    Saad: Discrimination is present everywhere. Most societies have courts to deal with the kind of discrimination we’re addressing in this subject. But unfortunately, I guess the Saudi government (and those companies that gave in) felt the need to take such drastic measures to lower the unemployment rates of locals.

    Bella: Yea, this initiative has been going on for some time now. I just noticed how deep it goes. You’re right; other countries have legal systems to prevent this from occuring. I have no clue how the law system works here, but foreigners have to go through a lengthy bureaucracy system to have their issues addressed and they usually end up with nothing.

  44. BM
    September 22, 2006 at 5:46 PM

    I just had a friend’s relative who was fired last week. At first I thought he was just fired but then I realized it was to make room for Saudi workers.

  45. Sam
    September 26, 2006 at 5:23 PM

    BM: There are thousands, if not millions, of other cases like your friend’s relatives out there. But a government’s supposed to employ it’s citizens, although the method stinks.

  46. Danish
    October 11, 2006 at 3:18 AM

    It’s straight racism no matter what you call it. Many ppl told me that its the governments job to make sure saudis are unemployed but there are many ways to do it instead of firing foreign workers with everything to lose. Its absurd and angers me everytime i hear about someone who was fired.

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