Saudi denies plan to revoke work permits for foreigners

Saudi denies plan to revoke work permits for foreigners

In a statement, the Labour Ministry clarified press reports that quoted Labour Minister Adel Fakieh as saying that the government would not renew work permits for foreigners who have held jobs for six years in the kingdom.

"What Labour Minister Adel Fakieh meant by his statement was that the measure would be applied on those foreigners who work for companies in the yellow category," said Hattab Al-Anazi, official spokesman of the ministry.

Companies in the yellow category that did not fulfil Saudisation conditions, should correct their status in order to get the permits of their workers renewed, he said.
However, the spokesman emphasised that permits of those foreign workers in red category companies would not be renewed at all, irrespective of the years they have spent in the kingdom.

"The new Nitaqat (limits) system allows renewal of iqamas (permits) without any condition for expatriates who work in companies in the green and excellent category," Al-Anazi told the Saudi Press Agency.

He said the new measure would not apply on house servants as their iqamas would be renewed without considering how many years they stayed in the country. "They are not at all linked with the Nitaqat system," he said.

On Sunday, Fakieh had said companies not employing enough Saudis may find themselves without foreign workers and expatriate employees may be limited to six years of employment in the kingdom.

Fekyeh did not say when the decision would be implemented. Fekyeh had said 90 per cent of the private sector work force was made up of foreign workers.
The reforms, the minister said, will aim to boost employment opportunities for Saudis and increasing competitive edge among them.

The number of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia is likely to exceed two million by year's end.